Finding a player to draft with the fifth overall pick is not difficult -- the number of options may make it difficult, but even the most casual college basketball fan can tell you who the top players were in a given season.
Now, finding a player late in the draft, say No. 30 or No. 57, picks the Suns own this year, that takes a real basketball junkie.
Enter Suns GM Ryan McDonough, who is preparing for his 11th NBA Draft.
"As you go later in the draft, the pool widens," he said. "It's a challenge, but I enjoy it."
Good players, even star players, can be found in the back half of the draft.
McDonough, celebrating his first month on the job, has had success finding those gems. He was part of a Boston Celtics front office staff that landed Kendrick Perkins in 2003 (27th overall), Delonte West and Tony Allen in 2004 (24th and 25th overall), Rajon Rondo in 2006 (21st overall) and Glen Davis in 2007 (35th overall).
"The good teams hit in the 20s and the 30s every year, the playoff teams," McDonough said. "That's how San Antonio and Boston, some of those teams have sustained their level. There are good players there."
The 12 players the Suns brought in over the weekend fall in the range of either late first round or second round projected talent.
Point guard Erick Green, a very skilled scorer and shooter who averaged 25 points his senior season at Virginia Tech was among of group of prospects Saturday that also included guards Archie Goodwin (Kentucky) and Nate Wolters (South Dakota State) plus forwards Jackie Carmichael (Illinois State), Jake Cohen (Davidson) and Romero Osby (Oklahoma).
"I think I'm a sleeper in the draft, to be honest with you," Green said.
Sunday featured a collection of wing players, including New Mexico junior Tony Snell.
"He's long and he's versatile," McDonough said of Snell's 6-7 frame. "I like his ability to put the ball on the floor some. He's an interesting player. He's a little bit inside, a little bit outside with that length. The way he shot the ball here today, especially from the NBA line was pretty impressive."
Snell, who improved his three-point shooting each season at New Mexico, said he feels "pretty comfortable" from NBA three-point range. He sees himself more as a "2" than a "3".
"I'm quick enough to defend two guards," Snell said. "I have the length to defend them, try to stop them."
Also working out Sunday were Will Clyburn (Iowa State), Dwayne Davis (Southern Mississippi) James Enis (Long Beach State), Ricky Ledo (Providence) and Ray McCallum (Detroit).
"If you find that guy at the 30 range or even if it's—I don't discount 57. I was (drafted) 46," head coach Jeff Hornacek said smiling. "You find that guy that's willing to battle, push the veteran guys and maybe they turn out to be better. You never know."