The Phoenix Suns have four picks in the deep 2014 NBA Draft and are preparing for a postseason appearance next season after falling frustratingly short of the West’s final playoff spot in 2013-14. Whether Suns general manager Ryan McDonough plans on achieving that goal by using his picks or packaging them in a deal to bring in new talent or move up in the draft remains to be seen, but assuming Phoenix holds on to all its picks, the Suns have plenty of options.
When the Suns traded Marcin Gortat to the Washington Wizards for an injured Emeka Okafor and Washington’s first-rounder last summer, it seemed like the Wizards were getting the better end of the deal to the general public. Sure, the Suns unloaded Shannon Brown, Kendall Marshall and Malcolm Lee in the deal, but nobody paid much attention to the fact that even if the Wizards did make the playoffs, they’d most likely be surrendering a pick before No. 20. That pick turned into No. 18, not as ideal as Suns fans were hoping for, but a look back into NBA Draft history shows Phoenix should be optimistic about it options.
The only notable names you’d find drafted at No. 18 from the 1970s and ’80s are Calvin Murphy of the then-San Diego Rockets, Joe Dumars of the Detroit Pistons and Mark Jackson of the New York Knicks. But over the last two decades, there’s been a large number of successful NBA players, stars and role players alike, who were taken with the No. 18 pick. Just take a look at these names: Theo Ratliff, David West, J.R. Smith, Gerald Green, Marco Belinelli, JaVale McGee, Ty Lawson, Eric Bledsoe and Terrence Jones.
You’ll notice two current Suns are on that list, as well as a number of quality role players and former stars. Oddly enough, NBA teams seem to have been more successful over the past few decades with the No. 18 pick than they have with the No. 14 pick, so even though there’s a possibility the Suns put together a trade package, there’s also a chance Phoenix could add a valuable future role player with the 18th pick.
We’ve already covered what the Suns should be expecting from their lottery pick at No. 14, and it’s safe to say that if any of those five players are still available four picks later, McDonough should give them a serious look. But assuming those five guys are already off the board (and for the sake of having some variety), here are the five guys the Phoenix Suns should target with their second first round pick.