COMMENTARY | The Phoenix Suns have scraped the bottom of the barrel and are trying to get the taste of a horrid 25-57 season out of their collective mouths. They have a plethora of options at No. 5, but what's their direction? What are their top priorities? Should they draft for need or go for the best available player route?
DRAFT FOR NEED
The best part about drafting for need at the No. 5 position is you're generally going to find a player that fits your needs. The best player on the board will be gone by then, but plenty of potential will still be available.
Using the draft for need strategy is appropriate for teams that only have one or two specific needs. The Suns are in need of a total makeover. One player won't make the difference, but it will help to build a foundation.
With six first-round picks in the next three years, the Suns could draft for need and take care of each of those glaring needs. Even if they strikeout with a few of those picks, they'll still give themselves a solid base to work with.
Then, with a team chock full of relatively-cheap rookie scale contracts, they could aggressively pursue a big free agent down the line to pair with the complimentary pieces.
DRAFT FOR GREED
Another way to approach the draft is to draft the best available player, regardless of position. There's no debating that Goran Dragic is the best player on the Suns' roster. He's also a steal financially, as he makes just $7.5 million annually until his player option in 2015-16.
So if the best player on the board is a point guard, should the Suns bite?
There are two schools of thought here. The first school is that it would hinder the development of that player because they wouldn't get ample playing time. The second school is that the pressure would be low and the player could develop at his own pace.
It's as simple as if you have LeBron James on your team and another LeBron James becomes available, don't you feel better having two LeBron James on your team?
WHAT'S BEST FOR THE SUNS?
If Phoenix was a highly desirable destination for free agents, I'd be inclined to consider drafting for need. If the Suns were a playoff team that badly needed a 3-point shooter to make them NBA championship contenders, I'd draft for that need.
The Suns don't qualify for either of those conditions.
There's only one good option, and that's drafting the best available player. Best-case scenario, the player develops into a star and lives up to his hype. Worst-case scenario, the Suns have more tradable assets with which they can use to improve their roster.
When you're short on talent, you just can't afford to pass on talent.
Michael Dunlap is an NBA credentialed writer who covers Phoenix Suns practices and games for the site he founded , HoopsHabit.com.
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