There’s a 96 percent chance the Phoenix Suns will pick 13th in the 2011 NBA Draft (that is, assuming Sarver doesn’t sell the selection).
Tonight we will find out whether the Suns’ 2.2 percent long shot at a top-three pick comes through to change the tenor of the current rebuild vs. status quo argument. The lottery begins at 5:30 p.m. MST on ESPN before Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.
The Suns officially have six combinations that could net them the No. 1 overall pick, giving them a 0.6 percent shot at the top overall selection, as well as a 0.7 percent shot at No. 2 and a 0.9 percent chance at No. 3. They also face a 1.8 percent chance of moving down to No. 14 if the Houston Rockets luck into a top-three selection.
The lottery system only applies to the top three selections in the draft, so if the No. 13 pick is announced with a Utah Jazz logo then Suns fans can rejoice.
The Suns will be counting on former center and current Vice President of Player Programs Mark West to bring some luck with him to Secaucus, N.J. West has been a part of Phoenix’s front office since 2001 and played for the team from 1988-94 and 1999-00.
“Our chances aren’t very high, but I’ve got a chance,” West told The Arizona Republic’s Paul Coro. “As long as there’s a chance I’m an optimist, so I’m going there with the thought we can get one of the top-three picks. I’ll guarantee you one thing: I’ll come back with a pick.”
Of course, some teams have practically been allergic to lottery picks this season (see the Clippers) due to the lack of elite talent in this draft, but although there isn’t a LeBron James or Dwight Howard that will change your franchise the Suns’ future would most certainly be much brighter picking in the top three rather than 13th, especially considering the shallow talent pool of the draft.
Then we could debate the merits of a Nash succession plan that could take place by selecting Kyrie Irving against the virtues of Derrick Williams’ fit as a pick-and-roll partner with Nash and star of the future after Nash.
After all the bad breaks suffered during the Seven Seconds or Less era — including the 2007 lottery bust when Atlanta owed Phoenix a top-three protected pick and then drew the third selection — perhaps the Suns’ luck will finally turn tonight as a new era approaches.