Phoenix Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough entered last night’s NBA Draft with the objective of complementing his young offensive core, led by 20-year-old Devin Booker, by improving their defense.
With the fourth overall pick, the Suns took versatile defender Kansas Jayhawks’ Josh Jackson. McDonough joined The Jim Rome Show Friday on CBS Sports Radio and talked about his team’s new addition.
“We needed to get better defensively, we needed to become a better passing team, and I think more than anything, we wanted to improve our competitiveness, our grit, our toughness, and Josh Jackson, in terms of his skills but also in terms of his personality, brings all those things to the table at some level,” McDonough said. “We thought on anybody in this draft, he was, in our opinion, the best player, but we think by far the best fit for our current roster.”
Leading up to draft night, there were plenty of rumors about the New York Knicks shopping Kristaps Porzingis, McDonough was asked if they were close to making a deal for Porzingis, something he denied, but added clarity to all the chatter.
“It’s amazing how some of the stuff takes on a life of its own. Did we call and acquire about Kristaps? Yeah, yeah we did. I’m sure the other 28 teams did as well,” McDonough said. “But short of that, I think some of the stuff that was out there, I think some of the stuff we saw out there, some of the things that were allegedly close for some of the players or picks or things like that were involved. I mean it really took on a life of its own. And I think if you read what some of the media reports or follow it on Twitter, it looks like a deal is potentially imminent or going to happen, and I’m getting calls from players and agents and the like and honestly, we didn’t feel like we were close to any kind of deal with the Knicks or anybody. We were very comfortable picking at four and ultimately that’s what happened.”
McDonough laughed when talking about how much of his day was spent dealing with players, their agents, or others on down playing something they read on social media.
“That is a big part of the job. Especially in the social media age where things get out so quickly – kind on the 24/7 sports news cycle – and you’re expected to respond quickly and immediately. So yeah, there are a lot of calls or texts to agents or players kind of explaining to them what the situation is, and don’t pay attention to this rumor or don’t worry, you’re going to get traded here or sent there,” McDonough said. “So that is a part of the job I don’t think has changed, but it has become more and more important and takes up more and more of your time. So like anything else, I think it’s based on relationships and what we tell our players and their agents is look, you’re not going to find out about anything for the first time in the media if we’re going to trade you or something is going to happen with you, you’ll hear it from us first, and I think if you have that trust and relationship with your players and their agents, they will know and not surprised about something online or on twitter if they are moved.”