The Suns secured the #1 overall pick in this year’s draft, and that’s cool. But, if they pick Ayton, they’ve still got a glaring hole at the point guard position that Elfrid Payton (probably) won’t be able to fill. The Suns have the 16th overall pick, which is a great position to draft a solid guard. I ran a Twitter poll with a few options (feel free to follow me), so I’m gonna break down these options. Keep in mind these aren’t the only guys available, but these are the options I see in front of Phoenix.
- Jalen Brunson, Villanova
Jalen Brunson led the National Champion Wildcats with an impressive 18.9 PPG on 52% shooting and 40% from 3-point range. He chalked up 4.6 assists as well over the course of 32 minutes per game. Brunson is a left-handed guard with a little bit of grit, something the Suns need in the backcourt. He’s 6’2’’, a nice height for a guard, but a below average wingspan. This year was his junior year, which means he’s a little bit more developed than some of the younger guards. He can shoot, and he can help run an offense pretty well. Though, his offense was helped along by elite NCAA coach Jay Wright, and his lack of athleticism and first step will definitely hurt him in the draft. Though he’s leaving college basketball with an impressive championship run on his résumé, Brunson is definitely not the best option on the board at 16.
- Aaron Holiday, UCLA
Aaron Holiday is a good defensive guard. He’s got a quick step to stay in front of guys, and that also helps him score. Playing a staggering 37.7 minutes per game, Holiday scored to the tune of 20 PPG on 46% shooting and 43% from 3-point territory. There’s a lot of efficiency there. Holiday can really shoot from beyond the arc, and his shot on the move is fantastic as well. He averaged a little under 6 assists, as well as 3.7 rebounds. Holiday is definitely someone the Suns could use, and he’s the younger brother of NBA brothers Jrue and Justin Holiday. He received PAC-12 first-time and defensive first-team honors this year, and there’s no better time to draft a player like him. He should still be on the board at 16, and the Suns would make a great decision to pick him.
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kentucky
Kentucky Freshman Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had an impressive first year in the SEC. All-Conference Second Team, All-Rookie Team, and SEC All-Tournament Team are all on Gilgeous-Alexander’s résumé. He averaged 33.7 minutes per game with 14.4 PPG on 48.5% shooting and 40.4% from the arc, along with 5.1 assists and 4.1 rebounds. SGA is 6’6’’, which gives him a natural advantage on defense. He averaged 1.6 steals on defense, and showed an ability to stay in front of point guards around the NCAA. Watching tape can show a slower release than anyone else on this list, as well as a tendency to over dribble, but if the Suns can work with Josh Jackson, they can work with Gilgeous-Alexander. He’s not the best offensive option on this list, but Shai Gilgeous-Alexander could lead the charge on an oversized backcourt in Phoenix. He may not be available at 16, as the Los Angeles Clippers have the two picks at the end of the lottery, and may look to bring in a guard to play behind Patrick Beverley or Milos Teodosic.
- Trading for a vet
There are plenty of point guards around the NBA that are already established as NBA-caliber talent. This is an edge that all of them have on the guys coming out of the draft. Looking at the guards around the NBA and keeping realism in mind, here are some guys the Suns could try and make moves for:
- Darren Collison, IND
Collison showed his scoring and passing ability in the first round of the playoffs, and a veteran presence leading the offense is never a bad thing.
- D’Angelo Russell
Another subpar season in Brooklyn may lead to even more roster turnover. Russell’s contract isn’t bad for the player he is, and he seems to have a decent friendship with Devin Booker, something that might lead him to Phoenix.
- Kemba Walker
Let’s be real. There’s a low chance of this happening. But, with a new GM in Charlotte, he might want to blow it up and start over again. If that happens, the Suns should be the first one on the phone trying to land Walker without giving up too much of the young core.
Trading for a vet might get established talent, but it may not be the best solution for the timeline the Suns are trying to work with. GM Ryan McDonough said he was open to trading that 16th pick, and if the Suns do draft Ayton, a point guard will definitely be a requirement on the other end.
The Suns have plenty of options at 16, and that’s great. There’s not a problem with having a lot of options. It’s weighing the options and choosing the right one that’s the problem. Ryan McDonough has had a good track record when it comes to drafting recently (congrats on All-Rookie Second Team, Josh), and Suns fans shouldn’t mind him picking who he feels is best at 16.
There are also obviously unexplored options, like making a package to trade into the lottery and drafting a guy like Collin Sexton or Trae Young (I HATE Trae Young but that’s just my humble opinion).
Opinion of the people on my Twitter feed shows that trading for a vet or drafting Aaron Holiday are the best options, and I tend to agree. Let’s just hope that Phoenix makes the decisions to right the ship this season.