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Phoenix Suns Emerge as Clear Winners From 2019 NBA Draft Grades

In a revisit of the 2019 NBA Draft, the Suns walk away as clear winners.

It's now been nearly three calendar years since the 2019 NBA Draft, and players have already established themselves as viable options in the league for years to come led by No. 2 pick Ja Morant. No. 28 pick Jordan Poole continues to etch his name into Golden State's lineup by serving as a premium role player with the Warriors in their quest for another NBA Finals title. 

Yet the number of lottery picks in that draft have been extremely hit or miss. 

Like, Stormtrooper from Star Wars miss. 

However, the Phoenix Suns and their haul from the 2019 draft is one of the few bright spots to emerge from the lottery. 

Suns Emerge as Clear Winners From 2019 NBA Draft Grades

The Suns initially selected Jarrett Culver and then traded his rights to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Dario Saric and the No. 11 pick in the draft. 

Suns Evade Jarrett Culver 

Yahoo! gave the Wolves a D grade for the selection, adding "Jarrett Culver spent two years in Minnesota and last season in Memphis. He’s faded in each. Not what you would expect out of a sixth pick— or any first-rounder for that matter."

Meanwhile, the Suns received a B- grade for the Cam Johnson selection. 

While Prospering With Cam Johnson

"The Phoenix Suns had to like what they saw in Cameron Johnson in 2021-22," said writer Barry Werner. "He continued to improve but the question is whether he has done enough to gain a long-term deal. Johnson did finish third in Sixth Man of the Year voting, which shows he has big value … off the bench and otherwise."

Johnson has been nothing short of valuable for Phoenix, as last season he averaged 12.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. He also shot 42.5% from downtown in 26.2 minutes played per contest. 

Johnson's impact off the bench has played a sizable role in helping push Phoenix to new heights each of the past two seasons, and this offseason marks the first time he's eligible for a rookie scale extension that could potentially net him a five-year, $186 million deal.

Dario Saric has missed significant time with injuries as of late, yet his last healthy season with the team saw him average 10.7 points and 6.2 rebounds in 24.7 minutes of action per night. 

The Suns were just one of five teams picking in the top 20 to receive a grade of B- or higher for their selection, joining the Grizzlies (Morant), Knicks (R.J. Barrett), Cavaliers (Darius Garland) and Heat (Tyler Herro). 

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