Suns GM: We Can Be Good For 10 Years

Ryan McDonough couldn't be more excited about his team's young talent

Reiter Than You
June 25, 2018 - 8:39 am

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After drafting DeAndre Ayton No. 1 overall and trading for Mikal Bridges, the Phoenix Suns have one of the most talented young rosters in the NBA – and general manager Ryan McDonough couldn’t be more excited.

“We think that over the next few years we have the ability to make some pretty significant steps,” McDonough said on Reiter Than You. “First, getting playoff-competitive and hopefully making the playoffs. We feel if we’re able to do that over the next year or two, then we have a chance to be good for five or 10 years after that given the age of our roster and the young talent on our roster. We have a lot of work ahead of us. Our top players are really young, but they’re also really talented, they’re really hungry, they’re high-character guys with strong work ethics – we’re excited. I can’t remember ever being as excited about a summer-league game and a summer-league team as I am about the team we’re going to put on the floor in Las Vegas in a few weeks.”

The Suns haven’t made the playoffs since 2010 and last year finished 21-61. But with Ayton and Bridges joining Devin Booker, who averaged 24.9 points and 4.7 assists last season, the Suns could be back in business. Ayton, in particular, brings a skill set that many players his size simply don't have.

“The offensive variety is important, and DeAndre can do just about everything offensively,” McDonough said. “He’s (so) uniquely gifted around the basket. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s athletic. He’s got great hands. He’s able to finish away from the basket with a nice touch. He’s able to finish at the rim or above the rim with dunks and put-backs and lobs. So offensively, there really aren’t a whole lot of limitations on him, especially when you consider his ability to step out and space the floor. 

“I think for me, that’s one of the things that separates him,” McDonough continued. “He’s a good shooter. Not only is he 7-1 and strong and athletic, but he can stretch the floor and drag opposing defenders away from the basket and create space for other guys at the rim to drive and finish.”

Ayton averaged 20.1 points, 11.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks at Arizona last season. McDonough expects Ayton to contribute as a rookie on both sides of the ball.

“I think that’s where he’ll have the most growth potential,” McDonough said of Ayton’s defensive prowess, “but he’s got unique physical gifts there as well with his mobility and strength. I think in time he’ll be a good rim protector. He’s already a very good rebounder. So I think if you look at him physically, mentally, there aren’t a whole lot of holes in his game, and there aren’t a whole lot of things that he can’t do or shouldn’t be able to do in time as he gains more experience.”