The time has come for all 30 NBA teams to test their luck, as they search for the next LeBron James, Kobe Bryant or Kevin Durant. The Phoenix Suns have three picks (No. 5, No. 30 and No. 57) and will look to make use of GM Ryan McDonough's talent evaluation skills as they continue the rebuilding process. Let's look into the crystal ball to visit the past, present and future as we gear up for Thursday night's 2013 NBA draft from Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.
There's no denying that the Suns have been horrible in the last decade as it pertains to their drafting decisions. In those last 10 years, players drafted by the Suns (who also played for the Suns) have exactly ZERO appearances in the All-Star game.
In fact, the current roster is comprised of just two players that were drafted by the Suns and started their career in Phoenix (Marcin Gortat was traded by Phoenix to the Orlando Magic on draft night in 2005). Kendall Marshall (No. 13 overall in 2012) and Markieff Morris (No. 13 overall in 2011) are the only two.
Marshall has been a disappointment, but we'll give the Suns the benefit of the doubt on him. There wasn't a whole lot of talent at No. 13 in 2012, especially at the point guard spot. Morris has been better, but it hurts that behind him was Kawhi Leonard, Nikola Vucevic, Iman Shumpert, Tobias Harris, Kenneth Faried and Jimmy Butler.
Let's just agree that the change from Lance Blanks to McDonough should reap immediate rewards.
Current Draft Possibilities
The last time the Suns drafted three players was the 2009 season, when they took Earl Clark at No. 14, Taylor Griffin at No. 48 and Emir Preldzic at No. 57. The last time they drafted twice in the first round was 2007, when they got Rudy Fernandez at No. 24 and Alando Tucker at No. 29.
Want to know something scary? The last time the Suns drafted a player who averaged more than 10 points for their career and actually played for the Suns was Amar'e Stoudemire (No. 9 in 2002). They badly need to end that trend.
The No. 5 Pick
The Suns haven't drafted as high as No. 5 since 1987, when they chose Armen Gilliam out of UNLV. As has been the case for much of their history, the Suns chose wrong. Scottie Pippen went No. 5, Kevin Johnson went No. 7, Horace Grant went No. 10 and Reggie Miller went No. 11.
Alas, the Suns have a lot of possibilities this year. This isn't a draft where there are surefire candidates at the top. The Suns have as good of a chance as anyone to snag a quality starter. Most mock drafts have the Suns acquiring a shooting guard, which is their most glaring need.
Needs: Shooting Guard
Possible Targets: Ben McLemore and Victor Oladipo
The No. 30 Pick
This is where McDonough will shine. He's lauded as being able to find diamonds in the rough and at No. 30, there will be opportunities to do just that. Developing talent isn't something the Suns have excelled at in recent years, but that's what they'll need to do with this pick.
They can take a chance on a foreign player and stash him overseas or they can take someone with a ton of raw potential and do their best to develop him. The Suns are so short at shooting guard that they could seriously consider grabbing another. Center is also a sore spot and if the right guy falls, the Suns will grab one.
Needs: Shooting Guard, Center
Possible Targets: Ricky Ledo, Glen Rice Jr., Jeff Withey
The No. 57 Pick
Could it be fate that the Suns are drafting in the No. 57 spot? The most successful draftee at No. 57 is a guy who has tortured the Suns for years -- Manu Ginobili. Also, current Suns center Gortat was also drafted in the same slot.
The point is, there isn't often talent late in the draft, but it's a possibility. In fact, of the players drafted No. 57 or later since 1989, only five have appeared in more than 100 games. As Jim Carrey said in Dumb and Dumber, "So you're saying there's a chance!"
Possible Targets: B.J. Young, Solomon Hill
This is the first year of a very important stretch for the Suns. With six first-round draft picks over the next three years, they will need to get value out of each and every pick if they expect to climb out of the cellar.
Michael Dunlap is an NBA credentialed writer who covers Phoenix Suns practices and games for the site he founded, HoopsHabit.com.Follow @iambabyd13 on Twitter!
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