Phoenix Suns draft: Picking No. 5 'a good problem to have'

2013-06-27T00:00:00Z Phoenix Suns draft: Picking No. 5 'a good problem to have'Paul Coro The Arizona Republic Arizona Daily Star
June 27, 2013 12:00 am  • 

PHOENIX - The Suns gathered almost every morsel of information on tonight's NBA draft green-room attendees.

They interviewed them and the people in their lives. They worked most of them out in Phoenix. They checked them out medically. They rewound game video until the plays became memorized.

The only thing the Suns could not determine in draft preparation is what will dictate their pick at No. 5 in tonight's draft - how the first four picks will go.

The Suns are sure they will draft a player they highly covet, especially if Kansas sweet-shooting guard Ben McLemore or Indiana defensive stopper Victor Oladipo remain available to boost the Suns' athleticism.

Some scenarios have both shooting guards gone by No. 5, most likely to Orlando (No. 2) and Charlotte (No. 4). In that case, the Suns are believed to be interested in going big for Maryland center Alex Len, the skilled 19-year-old who Cleveland has considered over Kentucky center Nerlens Noel at No.1.

"I'm very comfortable at 5," Suns general manager Ryan McDonough said of the Suns' highest draft status since picking Armen Gilliam second in 1987. "I'm confident. It's a good problem to have. The issues for me might be too many good choices rather than not enough."

The Suns are far from done after picking at No. 5 at about 5 p.m. They also hold the No. 30 and No. 57 picks and could acquire another first-round pick.

Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams visited Phoenix for a second time this week, and the Suns have affinities for Lehigh combo guard C.J. McCollum and Indiana power forward Cody Zeller. Portland is willing to deal the No. 10 pick and has interest in center Marcin Gortat, the Suns' most expensive player.

"Even at 10 or 12, you could find a guy who would turn out better than the No. 1 pick," Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said.

The most common top six includes McLemore, Oladipo, Len, Noel, Georgetown small forward Otto Porter and UNLV power forward Anthony Bennett, but all it takes is one top-four surprise move for Michigan point guard Trey Burke or Zeller and the Suns' options get more interesting.

The Suns are picking in the top 10 for the first time since drafting Amare Stoudemire ninth in 2002. To take advantage, they are in "best player available" mode.

Whatever the Suns do at No. 5, they will steer clear of that same position at No. 30 and might go with a high-risk, high-reward prospect such as Providence scorer Ricky Ledo. The history of a No. 5 pick has hits and misses, but No. 30 rarely starts or even sticks long in the NBA.

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