Earlier this week, the Phoenix Suns learned that they earned the 14th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, which is scheduled for the evening of Thursday, June 26.
The Suns have made some fantastic draft picks, as well as plenty of forgettable ones, in their 46-year history. Here’s a rundown of the team’s 10 best draft picks of all time (based only on their accomplishments with the Suns):
10. Cedric Ceballos – 2nd round (48th overall), 1990: In his six seasons in Phoenix (from 1990-94 and 1996-98), Ceballos averaged 11.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, and he shot a ridiculous 57.6% from the field in the 1992-93 season. Unfortunately, Ceballos suffered a knee injury in that season’s Western Conference Finals, and he was missed in the Suns’ six-game series loss to the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Finals.
9. Neal Walk – 1st round (2nd overall), 1969: After losing a coin flip to the Milwaukee Bucks for the right to draft Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with the first overall pick, the Suns settled for Walk, who averaged 14.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in his five seasons in the Valley. Walk’s best NBA season came in 1972-73, when he averaged over 20 points and 12 rebounds per game.
8. Jeff Hornacek – 2nd round (46th overall), 1986: Before he was part of a 1992 offseason trade that brought Charles Barkley to Phoenix, Hornacek averaged 13.7 points and 5.4 assists per game, and shot 39% from 3-point range in six seasons with the Suns. His 85.4% shooting from the free-throw line is still fifth-best in team history. Hornacek helped lead the Suns to the playoffs in four consecutive seasons, including back-to-back Western Conference Finals appearances in 1989 and ‘90.
7. Larry Nance – 1st round (20th overall), 1981: Before being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Kevin Johnson during the 1987-88 season, Nance averaged 17.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game in seven Suns seasons. Nance is the team’s all-time leader in blocked shots (939), and his 56.1% field goal mark and 3,791 rebounds are good for third- and fourth-best in team history, respectively.
6. Dan Majerle – 1st round (14th overall), 1988: Suns’ fans booed when then-head coach Cotton Fitzsimmons announced the team had drafted Majerle. Cotton told them they would regret that action, and he was right. “Thunder Dan” made 800 3-pointers in a Suns uniform, the second-most in team history. A three-time NBA All-Star, Majerle averaged 14.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per game in eight seasons with the Suns, and he hit 54 3-pointers during their 1993 playoff run.
5. Amar’e Stoudemire – 1st round (9th overall), 2002: Stoudemire averaged over 20 points and eight rebounds per game in six of his eight seasons in Phoenix. His 21.4 points per game are an all-time best among Suns’ draft picks, and he is third in team history in rebounds (4,613) and fifth in blocked shots (722). Stoudemire helped lead the Suns to three Western Conference Finals appearances, and he was an All-Star in each of his final four seasons in the Valley.
4. Shawn Marion – 1st round (9th overall), 1999: One of the Suns’ all-time most versatile players, Marion is in the top five in team history in total points (fourth), rebounds (second), steals (second), blocks (third), field goals made (third) and 3-pointers made (third).
Marion averaged at least 15 points and nine rebounds per game in each of his final eight seasons with the Suns before being traded to the Miami Heat for Shaquille O’Neal during the 2007-08 season.
3. Walter Davis – 1st round (5th overall), 1977: A six-time All-Star, Davis averaged 20.5 points and 4.4 assists per game while shooting 52% from the field in 11 seasons with the Suns, and he is the team’s all-time leader in points scored (15,666) and field goals made (6,497). Davis helped lead the Suns to two Western Conference Finals appearances, but due to his drug problems in the mid-to-late ‘80s, the Suns faded from playoff contention and decided not to re-sign him following the 1987-88 season.
2. Alvan Adams – 1st round (4th overall), 1975: The only player on this list to play all of his NBA games with the Suns, Adams averaged 14.1 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game in 14 NBA seasons. He is the Suns’ all-time leader in games played (988), minutes played (27,203) and rebounds (6,937); second in points scored (13,907) and field goals made (5,709); third in assists (4,012); and fourth in blocked shots (809). As a rookie, Adams averaged 17.9 points and 10.1 rebounds per game during the 1976 playoff season in which the Suns advanced to their first-ever NBA Finals, eventually losing to the Boston Celtics in six games.
1. Steve Nash – 1st round (15th overall), 1996: The only two-time NBA Most Valuable Player in team history, Nash played for the Suns from 1996-98, was traded to the Dallas Mavericks, and then re-signed with the Suns before the 2004-05 season. He went on to lead the NBA in assists in five of his next six seasons, and he helped the Suns advance to the Western Conference Finals in 2005, ‘06
and ‘10. Nash’s 6,997 assists, 90.7% free-throw percentage and 1,051 3-pointers made are all-time team bests.