With a top-five pick and five players with star potential, the Suns are in a good place. But how has each selection shown success?
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Suns star guard Devin Booker went to Navarrete Elementary School to surprise student Noah Smith with a trip to the NBA draft lottery in New York City on Friday. Patrick Breen/azcentral sports
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As the Suns look to rebuild through the NBA draft, they are looking to Golden State and Oklahoma City as examples of how to do it right.
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azcentral sports’ Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley talk about the possibility of the NBA draft lottery is rigged and an updated on Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington on Friday. Diana Payan/azcentral
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A look at whom the Suns could tab as their point guard of the future in the NBA draft.
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The Suns are guaranteed to have a Top 5 NBA draft pick. Here are some players they could take.
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The Suns, in the midst of a seven-year playoff drought, were rewarded the fourth pick in Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery in New York City, a disappointment to fans with higher hopes.
Out of playoff contention at this season’s All-Star break, management shut down key players to help secure a better draft position. The Suns finished with the league’s second-worst record, guaranteeing a top-five pick and providing a 19.9 percent chance of obtaining the top spot, the lottery’s second-best odds.
The No. 1 pick instead went to the Boston Celtics, the same team playing Cleveland in the Eastern Conference finals. The Lakers will pick second pick, followed by the Philadelphia 76ers.
The NBA draft begins at 4 p.m. on Thurs., June 22.
The good news for the Suns: Experts consider this draft among the best in recent memory, not because of its depth, but because of its top-end talent. In that regard, Phoenix General Manager Ryan McDonough has said it ranks just behind the 2003 draft, which consisted of perennial All-Stars such as LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade.
The draft’s projected top five (in some order): Washington point guard Markelle Fultz, UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball, Kansas small forward Josh Jackson, Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox and Duke small forward Jayson Tatum.
Phoenix’s selection is expected to accelerate a youth movement that management has shaped the last few years. Two years ago, the Suns added guard Devin Booker through the draft. Already, he has turned into their leading scorer as well as the face of the franchise. Booker represented the Suns at Tuesday’s lottery in New York City.
Last year, the Suns selected forward Dragan Bender (fourth overall pick) and traded for forward Marquese Chriss (eighth), making both building blocks for the future. Over the second half the season, second-round draft pick Tyler Ulis also showed promise as a back-up point guard.
In addition to the first pick, the Suns also have the 32nd and 54th picks of the second round. They are expected to start bringing in players for workouts by the end of the month.
The Suns have picked at No. 4 four times – Bender (2016), Alvan Adams (1975), John Shumate (1974) and Corky Calhoun (1972). This season, the 7-1 Bender averaged 3.4 points and 2.4 rebounds but missed a significant stretch with an ankle injury.
Over the past 20 years, the fourth pick has produced only four All-Stars, but Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook and the Clippers’ Chris Paul are likely future Hall of Famers.
More NBA draft: What can Suns expect with a top-5 pick?