The Phoenix Suns ended their season with a disappointing record of 23-59, earning them a spot in the lottery for the 6th straight time. The Suns under GM Ryan McDonough have proven to be one of the best scouting teams in the league. In their last three trips to the lottery they drafted Alex Len, a 7'ft center that's steadily improving, TJ Warren, a sophomore who lighted the league up with his scoring before he got injured, and Devin Booker, a surprise pick that wound up in the NBA All-rookie first team after his spectacular rookie season. With two selections in the lottery here are five players that they could potentially grab in the upcoming draft.
Dragan Bender, Croatia - The 7 feet Croatian has attracted many NBA teams including the Suns. The 18 year old provides exactly what Phoenix needs, a power forward that can play alongside Alex Len, some shooting from beyond the arc, and most importantly passing. Although he is considered the third best prospect in this draft there have been questions rising alongside his name, can he play defense in the NBA? Is he ready to compete against the best in the world? Questions that will only get answered on the court. If Bender is available I can definitely see the Suns taking him fourth.
Jaylen Brown - Like I said earlier Dragan is considered the third best prospect in this years draft, meaning the Celtics might take him third overall, but with Jaylen Brown left on the board the Suns might not mind losing the Croatian. Jaylen Brown fills the wing position for the Suns, although the spot is already stacked with Booker, Warren, Goodwin, Tucker, and even incoming rookie Bogdanovic the Suns shouldn't shy away from taking Brown. Brown brings athleticism, toughness, and most importantly defense to the table. Jaylen Brown might even challenge TJ Warren for the starting Small Forward of the future spot if he plays great. Phoenix should definitely take a long hard look at Brown.
Jamal Murray - I know what you're thinking, Another Kentucky Guard?! But hear me out, the team have already expressed that they're gonna draft the best player available every single time they pick and Jamal Murray might be the best player available after Bender. He is a two way guard that can shoot the lights out, he didn't play much at the point in Kentucky because of Tyler Ulis, but he is definitely capable of being a point guard in the league. He won't get much playing time with Bledsoe and Knight starting but imagine those guys subbing out while Murray and Booker checks in, instant offense right there. If what the Suns say is true that their gonna draft the best player available then we might see the fifth Kentucky guard in the desert.
Henry Ellenson - We're starting to shy away from the top-5 and start looking at potential steal at the 13th spot with Henry Ellenson from Marquette. Ellenson has shown he is ready to play in the NBA, he's an offensively skilled bigman that can bang down low on the post or stretch the floor and hit from beyond the arc. With a projected starting lineup of Bledsoe, Knight, Tucker, Teletovic, and Chandler, Ellenson fits exactly off the bench with young guys like Booker, Warren, and Len, as he provides low post scoring and outside shooting. If the Suns fail to snag Bender with the fourth pick then don't be surprised if Ellenson is dawning purple and orange next season.
Marquese Chriss - The Washington Husky Marquese Chriss is one of the most intriguing prospects in the draft, he's a gifted athlete that provides energy and rebounding with the power forward spot. Although Chriss might not be on the radar of the other teams in the draft, Suns GM Ryan McDonough have shown that he is capable of finding undervalued gem late in the lottery and Chriss might be his next big project. Chriss is still very raw as his basketball skills definitely need more work and that's fine for the Suns because they're not in a 'Win Now' mentality. If he can learn from Tyson Chandler, Ronnie Price, and Earl Watson he might be a scary player for many years to come.
This draft is definitely not the strongest in terms of depth and talent so the Suns really need to swing for the fences and grab the best player available to them. But with his track record I expect another A+ from Ryan McDonough and crew.