Former Phoenix Suns’ Coach Reveals Why Team Didn’t Draft Jason Tatum and Jamal Murray Despite the Opportunity

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The Phoenix Suns have had many bad decisions during Drafts in recent years. They have had a top-six pick for four years straight now, including the #1 overall pick back in 2018. But despite this, they still haven’t made the playoffs since 2010.

Former Suns coach Earl Watson recently revealed how they were close to drafting Jayson Tatum and Jamal Murray. Tatum has also spoken about being close to joining the Suns but then he was drafted by the Celtics.

Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum celebrating game 7 victory in NBA playoffs
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) celebrates after defeating the Toronto Raptors in game seven of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Watson talked about how he was impressed by Tatum during his workout. He said, “(Jayson) rips off 40 straight corner threes. He’s a natural shooter. The owner stops it. ‘do something else’. No, let him go to 100. Let’s see how many he can rip off.” 

Watson criticized the owner back in May and blamed him for stopping this. Although the Celtics had a pick before the Suns, had they shown more determination to get him during the workout, he wouldn’t have had another workout with the Celtics. They ended up drafting Josh Jackson instead, who is currently playing in the G-League

Phoenix Suns draft debacle from 2016

Not only did they mess up in 2017, but also the year before. With the 4th overall pick, they drafted Dragan Bender. The Croatian has started a whopping 67 in six years and is averaging 5.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.3 assists so far. Going two spots after him, was Jamal Murray, who also left Watson impressed.

Denver Nuggets vs LA Clippers: Jamal Murray
Sep 11, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) dribbles the ball against the LA Clippers during the first half of game five in the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

He said, “Jamal Murray… he doesn’t rip off like Tatum but you could tell he’s a great shooter. Then when I see him work out he’s such a pro. I’ve seen him beat the USA team as a kid representing Canada.”

Watson later asked Murray about his regiment, to which he replied that his dad had been teaching him to meditate since he was five years old. He said that he meditates every morning of the game and can meditate his heart rate to near death. “He was beyond his years and he was so calm,” Watson said. “I’m not surprised by the success he’s having.”

Had the Suns drafted either of those two players, it could have been a different story for them. Since he was drafted in 2015, Devin Booker has never had any real help and the Suns’ poor drafting is to blame for it. With the 10th pick in the upcoming 2020 draft, Suns fans will be hoping that the team can draft smarter this time.

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