The Phoenix Suns have been a franchise in recent turmoil, with very few signs pointing to an end of their downward trend. While some recent draft picks show little signs of improvement, other players have seemingly taking a step back in their development. With Devin Booker and Josh Jackson being the only signs of life on this team, the Suns face an important decision which could catapult them into the future as contenders.
If the season were to end today, the Suns would have the highest chance at the first overall pick in this upcoming draft, offering a premium opportunity to snag an All-Star or — at a minimum — a great third piece to add to this young team. With the current makeup of this roster, the Suns should be looking for the best player available in the draft, making Luka Doncic, Deandre Ayton, and Marvin Bagley the players who need to be looked at.
The Suns should first and foremost look into drafting 6’8” guard Luka Doncic out of Slovenia. Pairing him with the 6’6” Booker would give the Suns a versatile backcourt, with the potential to be the best scoring backcourt in the NBA after a few years. With both guards being able to handle the ball, there would be no need for a true point guard, which would in turn create a mismatch on the offensive side where the opposing point guard is forced to match up with the bigger and stronger member of the Suns.
However, this whole pairing would only work if Doncic would be able to guard smaller and quicker point guards. While he’s not a force on the defensive end, Doncic is still a very solid defender, and at the ripe age of 19, he’ll have plenty of time to continue to strengthen his defensive talent.
If the Suns aren’t looking to pair Booker with another scoring guard, the next best option would be to pair him with a bruising big down low. The options for this would be either Deandre Ayton out of Arizona, or Marvin Bagley out of Duke. Both options offer a big man with unique scoring potential and dominant defensive play. Both guys finished their only college season averaging over 20 points and 11 rebounds per game while shooting over 61 percent from the field.
The main thing that separates these two giants is their style of play. Ayton is a 260 pound beast who is a physical post player; while Bagley is 235 pounds and uses more finesse in his moves to get to the basket. While both players have extended their range out to the three-point line, it’s Bagley who is the better shooter of the two — as he hits on nearly 40% of his threes. However, on the other end, it’s Ayton who averaged over a block more per game than Bagley — although both are very good defenders.
While the Suns may be in the bottom of the barrel in the NBA, the possibility of adding any one of these three players should excite fans and keep them interested in the future of this young team. Whether they add an explosive guard to pair with their All-Star guard Booker, or they select a big man to help ease the burden from Jackson and Booker, the Suns should have a set of three young players ready and hungry for the long journey to an NBA Championship.