Re: Draft questions.
They received Chicago's pick the next year, and at the time they were in a pretty bad stretch of seasons and it was looking like a potential top pick coming back. They turned it around that year, the pick ended up in the 20s, and we traded it somewhere for cash and a future 1st.
People make too much of the Suns decisions to trade picks in recent years; Deng (or whoever we would have taken at that spot) was the only potential pick who would be making an impact for us, but that wasn't a money saving move. Trading it and using the cap space was not any cheaper at all compared to keeping it and just having less to spend in FA. They just wanted every dollar possible to land vet talent and turn things around quickly, and besides that the pick coming back had the potential to be even better. Worked out pretty well, even if the pick ended up marginal... People point to Rajon Rondo, but the guy would not be getting off the bench for us. He's been OK in Boston, but he only gets big minutes because they have no other options. With Nash and Barbosa, he wouldn't have that benefit in PHX.
The Hawks could still end up in the draft's top 10 next year, but you are right we should be looking at 2nd tier prospects. Still a great draft for us since there is a laundry list of good C prospects (not Oden type potential franchise guys, but more long term NBA guys than you'd see in 2 average drafts combined); DeAndre Jordan, Hasheem Thabeet, Kevin Love (a PF for most teams probably, easily a C for us and my favorite choice), Kosta Koufos, Hibbert, Brook Lopez, Trent Plaisted, Andrew Ogilvy and Ante Tomic. There are several good PF's as well, since our team doesn't really need a strict C, just the best big guy left; Darrell Arthur, Blake Griffin, Tyler Hansbrough, Serge Ibaka (of course we'd take Beasley, even if he doesn't fit a specific need, but we'd have top be at least top 2 for that)
There is a good cross section of guys with lots of upside and more polished guys who can contribute right away but don't have especially high ceilings. If we win a title, we'll likely go with the most talented guy possible. If not, we'll probably be looking for a guy who can help us right away. Thabeet would be a good choice in either category, since his absolutely elite shot blocking (and sheer size) will translate right away, allowing him to make an impact in a small role, even if the rest of his game is a work in progress. I like Love a lot (avoiding the obvious pun...) and his strengths are pretty much an ideal fit for our team and compliment Amare really well. Hansbrough would be good as an instant impact guy as well; He's similar to Paul Millsap in that people will overlook him on draft night because he doesn't have the potential of the others, but he's an absolute lock to become at least a quality role player and will make a lot of teams regret passing on him. He'd be a great pick outside the lotto.
Of course, at least a few of these guys will end up back in school, but out of that list of 13 guys there should be at least 7-8 in the draft, and at least 3-5 left after the lotto