The Suns have a preference for who they’d like to pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, and it might not be Zion Williamson.
Sources around the league indicate Phoenix would prefer to land Murray State’s Ja Murrant with its first selection, according to a report from The Athletic.
Newly appointed Suns general manager James Jones is reportedly high on the point guard, and his team has a good chance of getting its choice of the top prospects.
Phoenix is one of three teams that have a 14 percent chance of winning the lottery. The other two are the Cavaliers and Knicks. Should the Suns beat out the competition, they would be in a very favorable position.
Other franchises might be willing to part ways with highly valued pieces to trade up and draft Williamson. This could help the Suns relieve some pressure and upgrade the roster of their developing squad.
Williamson had a sensational season for Duke and is expected to be chosen with the top pick regardless of who gets it. The 6-7 forward averaged 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocks for Duke in 2018-19. He claimed a staggering number of awards and wooed spectators with his size, strength and athleticism throughout his freshman campaign.
The Suns however are in serious need of a dynamic point guard. The three point guards that finished the Suns’ 19-63 season this year combined to average less than 15 points and seven assists.
Morant on the other hand, averaged 24.5 points and led the NCAA with 10 assists per game in his sophomore season for the Racers. To put it simply, the NBA is a point guard’s league. If Phoenix wants to compete, it’ll need a ball handler who can go toe-to-toe with the likes of Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard, Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker and other elite floor generals.
The Suns had little shot at competing last season as it was. Which is why it elected to hand point guard duties to rising star Devin Booker, who averaged 26.6 points and led the Suns in assists per game (6.8) in his fourth NBA season. The 22-year-old shooting guard needs help in the backcourt.
The Suns have a surplus of hybrid forwards in Josh Jackson, Kelly Oubre Jr., T.J. Warren and Mikal Bridges. So passing on what many consider to be a generational talent in Williamson could be the best thing for them.
Phoenix selected Deandre Ayton with the first-overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. The center averaged an impressive 16.3 points and 10.3 rebounds in his rookie season.