Imagine having a team with three players that blossomed into superstars this year. Jayson Tatum, Jamal Murray and Devin Booker are now three of the best young players in the NBA following a terrific 2019/20 season full of incredible performances for them. Back in the day, there was a chance to see these three sharing touches in Arizona if the Suns made the right moves instead of going for some players that ended up being a failure in Phoenix.
Former Phoenix Suns coach Earl Watson recently sat down with former NBA star Gilbert Arenas to discuss his brief stint with the Phoenix Suns, revealing his plans to draft Jamal Murray and Jayson Tatum. He explained the first time he saw Tatum before the draft when the youngster enchanted Watson with the package he brought to the table.
“He’s a natural shooter. He gets into his combos, he was like three or four combos for every move. I’m like, ‘a shooter, who’s a non-pattern player, who is scorer, is dangerous. It’s a no-brainer. If we can find a way to get him with Devin Booker… With TJ Warren, who’s a non-pattern scorer in the paint, you have a great balance in your attack. We might not be good defensively because they’re both young but y’all better be ready to score 130.”
Then, he talked about Murray and how different he was to Tatum the first time Watson met him.
“Jamal Murray. He doesn’t rip it off like Tatum, but you could tell he’s a great shooter and then when I see him work out, he’s such a pro and I could tell he has the ability–some players are great workout and game players, and some players are terrible workout players and gamers. I was like ‘he’s a gamer.’ I’ve seen him beating the USA Team as a kid representing Canada, I’ve watched all, I’ve been around AAU for so long. …So I asked him what is his regime. This is crazy, he was like ‘my dad has been teaching me to meditate since I was five years old.’ He said I meditate every morning of the game, the entire game, then I can meditate my heart rate too damn near death. I’m like ‘hey, how can we get him too?’ He was beyond his years and he was so calm and I’m not surprised by the success he’s having.”
Boston and Denver enjoyed watching Tatum and Murray, respectively, fight to take their teams to their respective Conference Finals, losing against the finalists of this year, the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers. The Phoenix Suns could team up these three starts and create a three-headed monster, but they went with Dragan Bender in 2016, missing out on Murray, and Josh Jackson in 2017, just one pick behind the Boston Celtics, who picked Jayson Tatum out of Duke.
What could have been? We’ll never know…