In the old days, a No. 21 draft pick would draw yawns from Suns fans. But as the club goes into today's NBA draft — the last one in which high school players will be eligible and with all the foreign prospects to choose from — this draft will have plenty of players.
And that means the Suns could end up with a somebody who'll get playing time in the upcoming season.
"The draft will be deep," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "That's good for us."
The Suns, of course, are eternally searching for a big man.
This might be doubly true if the Suns can't nail down the trade of Quentin Richardson for Kurt Thomas because of lingering questions over insurance to fully cover Richardson's contract. The Suns might be inclined to go for a shot-blocking center such as the 7-foot Johan Petro of France.
They might also take a hard look at Chris Taft, an athletic 6-10, 260-pound power forward from Pittsburgh. Otherwise, they'd probably go with a guard or small forward, such as the 6-7 Ryan Gomes from Providence, or Nate Robinson, the speedy 5-9 point guard from Washington.
Robinson moved up on the Suns' radar recently and worked out for the club on Sunday.
Other possibilities include Wayne Simien, a 6-9, 255-pound forward from Kansas, or Mickael Gelabale, a 6-7, 215-pound forward from France.
Then again, some players projected to go higher than 21 could fall the Suns’ way. They include:
- Francisco Garcia, a 6-7, 195-pound guard-forward from Louisville.
- Roko Ukic, a 6-5, 180-pound guard from Croatia.
- Sean May, a 6-9, 265-pound forward from North Carolina. Drafting Ike Diogu, the star forward from Arizona State, seems a long shot, owing to questions about whether Diogu is suited to the Suns' fastest-in-the-NBA tempo.
The Suns also pick near the end of the second and final round, No. 57. A draft party for season-ticket holders will be staged at America West Arena.
The draft is set to start about 4:30 p.m., with the Suns set to draft after 6:30 p.m.