Decade of Poor Drafting: Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns are in the 2021 Western Conference Finals. Quite the accomplishment considering it’s their first time in the playoffs since 2010.

During their 10 year playoff drought, the team did not do a good job with the draft. While, three current Suns starters were drafted by the team, beyond that they have nothing to show for 10 years of lottery picks.

2011

Markieff Morris (#13) over Kawhi Leonard (#15)

2012

Kendall Marshall (#13) played one season in Phoenix (48 total games) and was part of a package traded to Wizards for Emeka Okafor and a first round pick (see below).

2013

Alex Len (#5) over Nerlens Noel (#6), CJ McCollum (#10), Steven Adams (#12), Giannis (#15 – though, he wasn’t on anyone’s radar in top 5 so this one isn’t fair). Len played 5 seasons with Suns, averaging 7.2 ppg and 6.5 rpg.

Drafted Nemanja Nedović (#30) and traded him for Archie Goodwin (#29) over Allen Crabbe (#31)

2014

TJ Warren was drafted 14th. He played 5 years for Suns and later gave him away in 2019, trading him to the Pacers for nothing because Suns are cheap. His scoring average increased by 5 ppg in the two years after joining Indiana.

Tyler Ennis (#18) over Gary Harris (#19). He was drafted with the pick acquired from Wizards. Ennis spent most of his rookie season in the G-League and played 8 games with the Suns before he was traded.

Bogdan Bogdanovic (#27) never played for the Suns. He has averaged 14.0 ppg in his 4 NBA seasons, but his rights were traded to Kings.

2015

Devin Booker (#13) – THEY GOT ONE RIGHT!

Andrew Harrison was drafted 44th and immediately traded to Memphis for Jon Lauer. Pick #46 was Norman Powell.

2016

Dragan Bender (#4) over Buddy Heild (#6), Jamal Murray (#7). Bender was in Phoenix for 3 seasons, averaging 5.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg.

#8 Marquese Chriss, who was acquired via traded, lasted just 1.5 seasons with Suns. Suns traded Kings #13 (Georgios Papagiannis), #28 (Skal Labissiere), 2020 second (Xavier Tillman), AND Bogdan Bogdanovic

Tyler Ulis (#34) over Malcolm Brogdon (#36). Brogdon won Rookie of the Year. Ulis averaged 7.6 ppg, 4.1 apg in 2 seasons and has been out of the league since 2019.

2017

Josh Jackson (#4), two years with Suns, was drafted over De’Aaron Fox (#5), Jonathan Isaac (#6), Lauri Markkanen (#7). He was also drafted over Donovan Mitchell (#13) and Bam Adebayo (#14), who weren’t expected to go top 5, but still worth noting.

2018

Deandre Ayton (#1) over Luka Doncic (#3), Trae Young (#5). Ayton is awesome, but Doncic is a top 5 player right now and Trae Young is also a superstar, approaching elite levels, so this pick is worth calling out.

Drafted Zhaire Smith (#16) and traded him, along with future first round pick for Mikal Bridges. Bridges hasn’t missed a game in 3 years. Smith played 13 total games and is out of league.

PG Elie Okobo (#31) over PG Devonte Graham (#34). Okobo’s career lasted 2 years (108 games, 19 starts) and averaged 4.8 ppg, 2.2 apg. Graham, in 100 starts (164 total games in 3 years) has averaged 13.3 ppg, 5.4 apg.

2019

Initially drafted Jarrett Culver #6 and traded him on draft night to Wolves for Cameron Johnson (#11) and Dario Saric. Johnson has averaged 9.2 ppg in 2 seasons (117 games).

2020

Jalen Smith (#10) over Tyrese Haliburton (#12). Haliburton finished third in Rookie of the Year voting, while Smith played 27 games and a total of 156 minutes, totaling 53 points, 37 rebounds and 4 assists.

Mike is an alum of the University of Cincinnati and the ultimate sports nerd.

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