- We’ll update our Team Capsules with more specific info once the lottery is complete.
2008-09 Record: 46-36
Draft Picks: 14, 48, 57
Key Free Agents:
F Grant HIll
F Matt Barnes
How They Got Here:
After making the playoffs for 13 straight years from 1989-2001, the Suns have now missed the playoffs for the 3rd time in the past 8 years. They started the season with Terry Porter, who won 5 more games then he lost, and finished the season with Alvin Gentry, who also won 5 more games then he lost. As usual, the Suns have no problem scoring (7 guys finished with 10+ PPG), but could use a better effort on defense (allowed 107.5 PPG). Their 3 oldest players (Shaq/Nash/Hill) were among the top 5 scorers on the team, so perhaps they will need to re-load on offense sooner than later.
What They Need:
There is not a single player in the rotation averaging over 16 minutes/game who is under age 26, so there is plenty of room to get younger. With J-Rich and Amare penciled in at the 2 and the 4, and several small forwards on the roster, the 2 biggest needs are at the point and in the post. Nash and Shaw might both end up in the Hall of Fame, but they are both well past their primes and will not be around forever. Of their 5 picks since 2000 who have a career average of 25+ minutes/game, exactly ONE is still with the Suns (Amare).
Who They'll Take:
After Lopez failed to shine as a rookie, while all the guards they have picked in the 1st round recently have gone on to shine for other teams, the Suns would be well served to grab a point guard and a center. That being said, when you miss the playoffs, you should also strongly consider getting the best available player on the board. Based on recent history, the Suns will probably pick a small point guard in the 1st round (Ty Lawson/Stephen Curry/Jeff Teague), and then trade him for cash to another team. If an in-state athlete like Chase Budinger is available, that would not shock me either. As Hasheem Thabeet will probably be a top-5 pick, the only other legitimate center prospect in the 1st round is BJ Mullens, but I am not convinced that he will end up being that much better than Lopez. As far as their 2 picks late in the 2nd round, I would suggest the best-available big man (Josh Heytvelt/Chris Johnson) and the best-available PG (Tyrese Rice/Josh Akognon).
Draft History (since 2000)
2008: Robin Lopez (15), Malik
2007: Rudy Fernandez (24), Alando Tucker (29), DJ Strawberry (59)
2006: Rajon Rondo (21), Sergio Rodriguez (27)
2005: Nate Robinson (21), Marcin Gortat (57)
2004: Luol Deng (7)
2003: Zarko Cabarkapa (17)
2002: Amare Stoudemire (9), Casey Jacobsen (22)
2001: Alton Ford (50)
2000: Jake Tsakalidis (25)
Stephen Curry - PG/SG - Davidson
Tyreke Evans - PG/SG - Memphis
Blake Griffin - PF - Oklahoma
James Harden - SG - Arizona State
Jordan Hill - PF - Arizona
Ty Lawson - PG - UNC
BJ Mullens - C - Ohio State
Ricky Rubio - PG - DKV Joventut
Brandon Jennings - PG - Arizona
Hasheem Thabeet - C - UCONN