Most years Suns fans are licking their wounds from a brutal second-round defeat or preparing for a scintillating Western Conference Finals right about now, but this year we’ve been relegating to counting down the days until the lottery.
The good news is after a month and a half of waiting, the Suns’ offseason officially begins at 5:30 p.m. MST when we find out if Lady Luck will smile on this proud franchise.
The Suns haven’t officially been in the lottery since they traded the seventh overall pick (Luol Deng) to Chicago in 2004, but it sure felt like it two years ago when the Suns would have received Atlanta’s pick so long as it did not fall in the top three.
I was covering the D-backs that day and didn’t have time to watch the lottery at Chase, so naturally I taped it, didn’t call up any NBA-related page in my browser and hoped I could just enjoy the lottery in peace when I got home.
I hate finding out the final score of a game that I have taped, and yes I’m that lame that I wanted to simulate watching ping pong balls being drawn out of a machine as it happened instead of just finding out on the Internet.
As luck would have it that night (not a lucky night at all), I passed two D-backs employees heading to the dining room complaining about the Hawks getting the No. 3 pick, and I was crestfallen the rest of the night.
Who knows what a No. 4 or 5 pick would have done to rejuvenate the Suns, but I do know that from the Lew Alcindor coin flip to the Amare-Diaw suspensions (yes, I’m still talking about that) to the Hawks pick, it’s about time the Suns finally drew some luck.
And if the Suns (I mean Thunder) win the lottery next season, wouldn’t that be a cruel twist of fate?
Anyway, in preparation for the big day I decided to play ESPN’s draft lottery 100 times just to take a random stab at what might be happening tonight.
It took me only 18 tries to see Blake Griffin’s name aside the Suns’ logo, and finally by try No. 86 Hasheem Thabeet showed up third overall. Other than that it was all No. 14s and all Earl Clarks aside from one random Stephen Curry sighting in that spot. The Suns are already bracing for the 14th pick by putting up a story on notable 14s in NBA history on their Web site.
My feel from watching the fake lottery play out 100 times: Kevin Arnovitz and the other Clipper fan will be very happy.
Of course the real odds give the Suns a 0.5 percent chance of winning the thing, a 0.59 chance of coming in second and a 0.72 percent chance of bringing home third, meaning there’s a 98.19 percent chance that we’ll all be disappointed at this time tomorrow. Get ready to crack open a couple cold ones.
But as I wrote in my previous article, so you’re saying there’s a chance?
The Suns will be sending Alvin Gentry, whose good-luck vibe led his Clippers to a No. 2 pick when they should have been picking eighth.
History also tells us that with one ball out of 66 (1.5 percent), the Orlando Magic won it for a second consecutive season in 1993, using the pick to trade for Penny after picking Shaq first overall the year before.
After that lottery, the NBA tweaked its system, but you still have random occurrences like the Bulls winning last year’s lottery, something Mike D’Antoni surely never would have expected with Chicago having only the league’s ninth-worst record.
It’s too bad for Suns fans that the NBA commissioner isn’t Bill Simmons, he of the “every lottery team should have the same odds” theory.
He even makes reference in his epic back-and-forth with Malcolm Gladwell how the Suns would rejoin the NBA’s elite if they could add Blake Griffin, and really wouldn’t it be a good thing for the league for the Suns to be in the upper crust again?
Time to hope that everybody who believes in conspiracy theories are right ……..