Phoenix Suns enter NBA Draft with just one pick, but numerous options
Devin Booker has accomplished plenty since the Phoenix Suns selected him 13th overall in the 2015 NBA Draft.
Made the All-Star team. Played in the NBA Finals.
He's now suited up for Team USA looking to win gold in Tokyo Olympics, but nothing still compares to his draft night.
"For the draft guys coming in, it's the biggest moment of their lives," Booker said in a Zoom call after scoring 16 points in USA's win over Iran in the preliminary round. "I know it was the biggest one in mine, but just take it day by day. Understand that it's a journey. There's going to be highs and lows, but just got to keep going, keep improving every day and learn the game. Find some good veterans. Listen to people, listen to the right people."
The Suns can just play back that clip to whoever they draft Thursday night with the 29th overall pick – if they end up using their only current pick in the draft.
James Jones has shown in his two seasons as the team's general manager, after serving as an interim in the 2018-19 season, he's open to draft-day trades.
The 2020-21 NBA executive of the year made moves to get draft picks Cam Johnson and Ty Jerome and veterans Dario Saric and Aron Baynes in 2019.
Jones wants depth at all five positions and always believes there are good players in a draft even when some skeptics say a draft class lacks depth.
So he's open to selecting a player at 29th, as several productive players have gone at that draft spot – and later – just back to Booker's 2015 draft.
- 2015: Montrezl Harrell (32nd), Josh Richardson (40th).
- 2016: Dejounte Murray (29th), Malcolm Brogdon (36th).
- 2017: Josh Hart (30th), Dillon Brooks (45th).
- 2018: Gary Trent Jr. (37th), Bruce Brown (42nd).
- 2019: Eric Paschall (41st), Terance Mann (48th).
- 2020: Desmond Bane (30th), Theo Maledon (34th).
However, a trade is always on the table, but it takes two to make a deal.
Keeping that in mind, other teams may believe they can find someone even that low in the first round who can improve their roster.
The question is what would those teams be willing to give up to get a deal done?
Mock drafts have the Suns taking a point guard like Florida's Tre Mann, West Virginia's Miles McBride and Virginia Commonwealth's Nah'Shon Hyland at No. 29, given that Chris Paul has a player option of $44.2 million and Cameron Payne will be an unrestricted free agent.
Teams can start negotiating with free agents Monday at 3 p.m. PT.
However, Phoenix doesn't have a true shooting guard to back up Booker.
Combo guard E'Twaun Moore only signed a one-year deal with the Suns as did guard Langston Galloway.
Jevon Carter has shot 39.7% from 3 in his two seasons in Phoenix, but is only averaging 4.5 points for his career. Undrafted rookie Ty-Shon Alexander made an early impression on Booker, but he averaged less than a point in 15 games.
Mikal Bridges has played the two, but is a natural starter at the three.
So don't rule out Phoenix finding a shooting guard as Tennessee's Jaden Springer, Alabama's Josh Primo and Gonzaga's Joel Ayayi are being named as mock selections for the Suns, who are picking this low after finishing this year with the NBA's second-best record at 51-21 in an NBA-shortened 72-game season.
Phoenix reached the NBA Finals before losing to the Milwaukee Bucks in six.
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