The NBA lottery has placed the Phoenix Suns on the clock with first overall pick in the draft. The player they select will shape not only their franchise’s future, but the teams who pick behind them. Who will the Suns take first?
Mo Bamba University of Texas Odds he’s picked first: 1%
Bamba fits in today’s NBA because of his length and defensive ability. He can guard multiple positions and is an athletic rim protector. However, Bamba is limited offensively, which will prevent him from being the first overall pick. Specifically, he only shot 27.5% from three point range and under 70% from the free throw line.
Michael Porter University of Missouri Odds he’s picked first: 4%
If Porter had not gotten hurt, he might have been the favorite to go first overall. Porter is huge, athletic, and projected to be a great all-around pro. However, since the Suns did not see him play against other NCAA top-level competition limits his chance to go first overall.
The fact that Porter’s injury was his back adds to the level of concern because the possibility for reinjury is high. Phoenix could view him as worth the risk, much like the Blazers did with Greg Oden about ten years ago, but that seems unlikely because of the presence of three other potential picks.
Marvin Bagley Duke University Odds he’s picked first: 10%
Bagley took off in the NCAA tournament and is a dynamic scorer who averaged 21/10 in his lone season at Duke. The main reason that he is unlikely to be taken first is that he does not really have an NBA position because he is too small to be a center and too slow to cover many stretch 4s.
Another cause for concern is that some scouts believe that much of Bagley’s productivity came from the fact that he was bigger, faster, and stronger than his opponents. In the NBA, that is unlikely to be the case on a game-by-game basis, so he will need to develop some before he is an impact player.
Luka Doncic Real Madrid Odds he’s picked first: 30%
Scouts rave about the 19 year old’s all around game. Doncic can pass, phenomenally, shoot, and he’s athletic. Taking into consideration the fact that the Suns new head coach Igor Kokoskov has coached Docic before, it seems like a no-brainer that the Suns would pick him.
There is some concern that Docic will stay in Spain and not come to the NBA. Furthermore, some people wonder if his performances are aided by playing against lesser competition in Europe. While those are both questions, neither is the main reason why the Suns will pass on Doncic.
Deandre Ayton University of Arizona Odds he’s picked first: 55%
Given that Ayton played in the Suns’ backyard, it is hard to envision that the Suns do not pick him. The Docic-Kokoskov connection is the only reason why the odds are not even greater that the Suns take Ayton.
Ayton is physically imposing and will defend the paint for the Suns. In addition to his defense, Ayton can shoot and even step out beyond the three point line to knock down triples. He is the prototype for a big man in the NBA in 2018, which will cause the Suns to pick Ayton first in the draft.
The NBA draft is less than a month from now, and the Phoenix Suns are on the clock. They likely will take Deandre Ayton from their backyard to patrol the paint for the foreseeable future. If they pass on Ayton, the Suns will almost certainly pick Luka Doncic from Europe.