After Tanking To A 21-61 Season, The Suns Land The No.1 Draft Pick

 After tanking to a 21-61 season, the Phoenix Suns were rewarded with the No.1 overall pick in the NBA Draft. Before Tuesday nights Draft Lottery came up roses, the Suns already had the best odds to win.  This is the fourth straight season in which the team with the best chance to end up with the No. 1 selection got the top spot, so the system is working. 

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Suns win the lottery!

The Sacramento Kings will select second, and the Atlanta Hawks will go third. The NBA draft is June 21 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

The Suns have had their share of first-round busts over the past two decades, but the franchises talent evaluation has improved in recent seasons and they want to make a big splash with this opportunity.  

“It’s a historic day for the franchise,” Suns general manager Ryan McDonough said. 

The top prospect is 7-footer DeAndre Ayton who starred at Arizona and averaged 20.1 points and 11.6 rebounds in his only season with the Wildcats, earning the Pac-12 Player of the Year award.  His 24 double-doubles on the season are the second most by a freshman in Division I history, behind only Knicks scoring forward Michael Beasley, who recorded 28 in 2007-08 for Kansas State.

Deandre Ayton Pac-12 Player of the Year Highlights

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The NBA Draft always produces a few international sleepers that American fans arent familiar with, but have tremendous NBA potential. Real Madrid’s Luka Doncic is that guy this year and sources say the 6-foot-6  Slovenian point guard might give Ayton a run for the No. 1 overall slot as we move closer to Draft day and the madness begins. 

Doncic is just 19, earned the 2016-17 EuroLeague Rising Star award while playing against older and tougher competition overseas. NBA scouts are sweating him hard and some project him to be another international gem like Kristaps Porzingis, who was unmercifully booed by Knicks fans when he was selected by Phil Jackson with the fourth overall pick in 2015 NBA Draft. 

New York Knicks fans boo selection of Kristaps Porzingis at No. 4 in 2015 NBA Draft

New York Knicks fans boo selection of Kristaps Porzingis at No. 4

Lets take a look at the Suns’ success with first-round draft picks since the late 80s. A few have panned out and some have gone on to have Hall of Fame careers elsewhere after Phoenix traded them away. The process has been up and down, to say the least, but the tide seems to be turning in the Sun’s favor.  

Armen Gilliam, who died during a pickup game in 2011 at the age of 47, was drafted in the first round in 1987. “The Hammer ” was a super solid baller who averaged 13.7 points and 6.9 rebounds in his NBA career,  but his selection was sandwiched between busts William Bedford and Tim Perry and Anthony Cook

Armen Gilliam Mix [BP15]

The Hammer deserves his own highlight reel for sure. Maybe I’m wrong but I have a feeling that Armen is a little forgotten star of the 90s. Very good player and talented musician. Rest In Peace, Armen.

St.Johns star Jason Williams was a winning pick in 1990, but he found his greatest success with the New Jersey Nets. In fact, Williams and Gilliam paired on a formidable Nets squad back in the 90s. 

Jayson Williams Mix by Patrys15

Jayson Williams Highlights. One of my favourite centers, he was a star of 90s of the Nets. Download:

In 1995 the Suns drafted star Michael Finley who after a promising rookie season was traded to the Dallas Mavs in the Jason Kidd trade and went on to become an All-star. 

Michael Finley Mix

A Michael Finley Mix

The Suns hit the jackpot with Steve Nash in 1996 and had a building block Hall of Famer for the future, except in his first stint with Phoenix, Nash sat behind Kevin Johnson, Sam Cassell, and Jason Kidd before being traded to Dallas where he actually became a beast. The Suns realized their mistake and got Nash back in 2004. 

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Former #Sooners guard Trae Young says his favorite player has always been Steve Nash. Maybe vying a little for the #Suns to draft him.

In Nashs absence, Phoenix drafted highflying Shawn Marion  AKA “The Matrix’ in the 1999 Draft and added to the talent pool. Marion averaged 18.4 points and 10 rebounds and shooting 51.4 % from the floor and 82.4 % from the charity stripe during his nine years with the club. 

In 2002, they popped with Amar’e Stoudemire, one of the last highschool-to-pros success stories. When Nash returned to Phoenix he joined with Shawn Marion, Joe Johnson and Amar’e Stoudemire and Italian offensive guru coach  Mike DAntonio to form a championship-caliber squad that went to back-to-back Western Conference Finals but kept falling short of an NBA finals run. 

Short Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire, Shawn Marion Best Mix

short STAT, Matrix, and Nash mix

The Suns also dropped the ball on two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng whom they drafted out of Duke with the seventh overall pick of the 2004 Draft and then immediately traded to the Chicago Bulls. 

In 2005 they took Nate Robinson who went on to find moments of stardom with the Knicks as a scorer and three-time Slam Dunk champ and in 2006 Phoenix traded off another eventual All-star and champion in Rajon Rondo.  Rondo was drafted 21st overall by the Phoenix Suns in the 2006 NBA draft, then traded to the Boston Celtics along with Brian Grant for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ first-round draft pick in the 2007 NBA draft and cash considerations. 

Rajon Rondo HD Career Mix! Songs; Clark Kent feat. Mimi Page – Life J Dash – WOP

Rondo, a four-time NBA All-star went on to win the 2008 NBA championship with The Celtics Big Three and Lakers coach Phil Jackson called him the star of Game 6. 

After Rondo, Phoenix went on a picking spree of busts. Robin Lopez in 2008 was decent, but nothing was really cracking until the Suns hit the jackpot with the Devin Booker pick in 2015. Phoenix sees the high-scoring  21-year-old as another Steve Nash type building block. Adding  2017 first-rounder Josh Jackson to the mix was a solid move and now Phoenix hopes it can follow that up with an Ayton at No. 1 and establish their own Big Three for the future. 

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I think we’re different than a lot of teams that traditionally have the No. 1 pick. Very few teams have players the caliber of Josh Jackson and Devin Booker.” -James Jones

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