Since winning the draft lottery, speculation has run rampant as to what the Phoenix Suns will do with the first pick of the 2018 NBA Draft. Will they select Slovenian star Luka Doncic? Will the select Deandre Ayton? Or will they go in a different direction with the pick? Either way the time is running out and the team will have to make a decision.
However, a recent development has made that decision even more difficult for the Suns. Reports have surfaced that Karl-Anthony Towns doesn’t enjoy the confrontation style of head coach Tom Thibodeau and may ask to be traded this offseason.
Fans all over the valley have debated whether or not the Phoenix Suns should indeed trade the No. 1 overall pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Karl-Anthony Town?
Towns vs. Ayton
Towns has played in all 82 regular seasons games for the past three seasons in the NBA. In 246 games for the Wolves, Towns has averaged 21.6 points, 11.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks. Taking a look at his rookie season alone, Towns averaged 18.3 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game; earning Rookie of the Year honors for the 2015-2016 season.
Ayton is already at a disadvantage. Ayton played most of his college ball at the power forward position, with Dusan Ristic starting at center for Arizona. In his lone college season, Ayton averaged 20.1 points, 11.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game for the Wildcats. Ayton never really had dominant performances and at times struggled against true centers and true power forwards. Ayton will have to learn how to play the center position in the NBA while living up to his No. 1 pick potential.
Taking a look from another angle, Ayton could put up low numbers while learning and adjusting at the NBA level. Joel Embiid averaged 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks for the Philadelphia 76ers before an injury sidelined Embiid for the remainder of his rookie campaign.
2017-2018 NBA First team All-Rookie center Lauri Markkanen, also an Arizona alum, averaged 15.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists and .6 blocks in 68 games for the Chicago Bulls.
The Devin Booker factor
Another factor that the Suns are going to have to take in consideration is the relationship between Towns and star guard Devin Booker.
The two are close friends and are former college teammates at Kentucky. Both the stars players were selected in the 2015 NBA Draft. Together, the duo helped Kentucky go 38-1 and lost in the National Semifinal against Wisconsin. Both won 1st team All-Rookie honors in 2016 have seen one another reach new heights in their respective NBA careers.
As many fans dreams about pick-and-rolls and alley-oops with Booker and Ayton, the same can be said for Booker and Towns. Both Booker and Towns have proven to be successful in the NBA and the two bright stars could take the Phoenix Suns to new levels.
The Suns have not made the playoffs in in eight seasons. Bookers has made comments that he is tired of being on the outside looking in when it comes to postseason basketball. Towns had made the playoffs for the first time in his NBA career and is itching to return in the 2018-19 season.
The time is coming for the Suns to make a decision. Owner Robert Sarver and general manager Ryan McDonough must pick up the phone and entertain the trade idea. It is time for the Suns to trend upward and escape the losing stigma they have around the league.