This may seem odd as an employee of the Phoenix Suns, but I’m hoping fans boo the team’s 2012 draft pick and it’s not because I have some sick desire to lose my job.
Before you bring out the straight jacket and treat me like I’m Charlie Sheen after a bender, hear me out.
Over the years, Suns fans booing a draft pick has been a pretty good barometer of future success. As in, when we boo, the player tends to far exceed our expectations. It’s kind of like the Bizarro version of Superman.
The most famous example of this, of course, occurred in 1988. If you’ve been a Suns fan for any amount of time you know the story. With the 14th pick, the team selected a little known guard out of Central Michigan that fans wanted nothing to do with. They were so adamant about their disdain for the pick that the boos forced Cotton Fitzsimmons to scold the crowd for their reaction. Cotton was right and the fans were wrong as that player, Dan Majerle, went on to become a fan favorite.
Another great example was a little known point guard from a small California school. When the Suns selected a boyish looking guy with a bad haircut, a colorful tie and a big cell phone with the 15th pick in the 1996 draft, fans at the draft party once again greeted the pick with the kind of boos usually reserved for a Dane Cook stand-up special. That pick wound up winning two MVPs and holding the franchise record for assists. That’s right, the same fans that this past April chanted lovingly “We want Steve,” booed Nash on draft night.
Those aren’t the only two examples, though, as fans have booed the selections of many players that went on to great popularity in Phoenix. It’s a byproduct of us as fans falling in love with the idea of a player they saw a few times in college and in highlights winding up in purple and orange.
In 1995 fans wanted hometown and ASU favorite Mario Bennett with the 21st pick. Instead, the team went with Michael Finley. Fans were unhappy with the pick, that is until Bennett fell to the Suns at No. 27. The fans, myself included, fell victim to it again in 2003 when the Suns selected Amare’ Stoudemire straight out of high school, when many fans wanted to see Jared Jefferies as the No. 9 pick. As history has since taught us, that would have been a colossal blunder.
The lesson to be learned from all of this? As fans, we are more emotional about our draft picks than Adele thinking about an ex-boyfriend. We know what we want and why we want it to happen. but that doesn’t always mean we know what’s best for our favorite teams.
So go ahead and boo the Suns’ 2012 draft pick if you feel so inclined. But make sure to do it knowing that as fans we don’t know as much as we think and there’s a good chance we’ll wind up cheering for the very same player some day soon.