It will come down to Deandre Ayton or Luka Doncic for the Phoenix Suns. The direction of the Suns’ franchise will be determined by which player they choose.
The Phoenix Suns are in this envious position after winning the No. 1 overall pick (courtesy of ESPN) in the NBA draft lottery. There are several prospects in the upcoming NBA draft that project to be stars. The Suns are hoping that whomever they take is one of them.
It is the first time in franchise history that the Phoenix Suns will choose first. The odds were in the Suns’ favor as they went into the draft lottery with a 25 percent chance at getting the top pick.
Ironically, the Phoenix Suns’ two greatest needs are at point guard and center. Arguably the top two players in the draft play those two positions.
An NBA mock draft by SB Nation has the Suns taking guard Luka Doncic. If this holds to be true the Suns will have set the course to becoming a perimeter-oriented team that plays with pace. Playing fast and sharing the basketball have been the NBA’s most recent model for building a winner.
Winning is something that the Phoenix Suns have not done in quite some time.
Will the Suns pick Luka Doncic or DeAndre Ayton?
— SB Nation (@SBNation) May 16, 2018
Eight years is too long for an NBA team to miss out on the playoffs. The Suns have one of the longest-running playoff droughts going. Ending that drought will take proper scouting by the Suns’ front office and talent evaluators. Afterwards, creating an identity becomes the primary focus for the Suns.
If the Suns take Luka Doncic, as many observers believe they will, playing with pace will be the team motto. However, if the Suns go against conventional wisdom and select Deandre Ayton, the team identity becomes drastically different.
Deandre Ayton is mobile for a center. He runs the floor hard, will occasionally handle the basketball, and can hit some outside shots. Can Ayton be versatile enough to make a huge difference for the Suns?
The last team to win the NBA title with a center as the focal point of the offense was the San Antonio Spurs in 2014. That Spurs team had Tim Duncan alternating between power forward and center most nights.
Since then, perimeter-oriented teams such as the Golden State Warriors have either won the championship or played in the NBA Finals. If the Phoenix Suns want to get closer to a title, they will go in the same direction as the league.