Phoenix Suns face long odds of moving up from 13

Posted by on May 29th, 11:43 pm

For one night Suns fans can forget the apparent doom and gloom of their favorite team’s future and hope that the odds are ever in their favor in a way that could change the direction of the franchise.

Wednesday night is draft lottery night in New York (5 p.m. MST on ESPN), so with one incredibly lucky bounce the Suns could dream of a future in which Anthony Davis stabilizes the defense and makes Steve Nash long to stay without nary a move in free agency or via trade.

During a season in which so many teams tanked for more lottery balls that could lead to The Brow, the Suns did the exact opposite.

They held on to their veterans and turned around a 12-19 season to the extent that one measly victory in Utah could have meant a playoff berth. They were as anti-tank as any team in the NBA (with the possible exception of the Jazz), and PBO Lon Babby actually went on record as saying he hates tanking.

If you believe in karma, perhaps the Suns will be rewarded for their non-tanking ways over the Golden States and Portlands of the world who spent the last month of the season working toward a better draft position.

If you believe in cold hard statistics, however, you know there is an overwhelming chance the Suns will hold the 13th overall pick for the second consecutive season.

In fact, there is a 96.0 percent chance that the Suns will receive the second to last spot in the lottery.

For the optimistic lot, the Suns have a 0.6 percent chance of winning the Davis lottery, a 0.7 percent chance of picking second and a 0.9 percent chance of earning the third selection as well as a 1.8 percent shot at dropping down to 14th if the Rockets move up.

I decided to put those odds to the test by playing ESPN’s lottery mock draft and on the 27th roll of the dice, the Suns lucked into the third pick and selected Michael Kidd-Gilchrist:

The Suns will be crossing their fingers for a franchise-saving miracle.

The Suns will be crossing their fingers for a franchise-saving miracle.

I tried another 28 times for a total of 55 and that was the only time the Suns moved up.

For the second straight season, the Suns will send vice president of player programs Mark West to the festivities. He’s obviously hoping for a better showing than last season, but as any gambler will tell you it would be hard to blame this figurehead when you are going to battle with 2.2 percent odds.

As Paul Coro noted, a team has not moved up from the 13th or 14th slot since Charlotte did so in 1999 by improving from 13th to third.

In all likelihood, 13 will be as lucky as Phoenix gets for the second straight season, and if that’s the case Chad Ford projects the Suns to select either Austin Rivers or Jared Sullinger (and I would know after spinning the mock lottery 50-plus times).

Such a player could be another quality piece of the foundation a la Markieff Morris last season, but at this point the Suns need a foundational player rather than just another piece to the puzzle.

They have a 2.2 percent chance of lucking into just that and significantly accelerating the rebuilding process.

Michael Schwartz founded ValleyoftheSuns in October 2008 and is the owner/editor emeritus of the site. He is currently working toward his MBA in sports business at San Diego State University.

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Tags: Draft · Phoenix Suns

35 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Rich Anthony, (KJL) // May 30, 2012 at 12:37 am

    I sort of disagree about needing that foundation piece. We need it, but not through the draft. I’d rather the Suns land another quality player in the draft this season and next.

    I’d like the young core to get lots of run and look good. Good enough to attract one of the next big free agents in ’13 or ’14.

  • 2 Scott // May 30, 2012 at 1:39 am

    I doubt Jared Sullinger will be there for the Suns to take, but at this point Sullinger has my vote of the two.

    From his profile on Draft Express, Sullinger seems like a scoring Boris Diaw. He lacks Diaw’s athleticism, mobility, and handling skills, but he scores and he rebounds, which ought to make up for some of that.

    Sullinger should be a good backup center right away, and if his mobility improves, he could also play some at PF.

    However, Draft Express presently has Sullinger going at #6. That’s likely out of reach.

    Rivers would be good if he had a high b-ball IQ and could play the point, but he doesn’t appear to have either quality. He’s kind of like a skinny Shannon Brown, but also with the baggage that comes from having a prominent NBA father.

    Draft Express has Rivers going at #13, today, with Tyler Zeller at #14. If the draft was to fall in the order Draft Express has it today, I’d suggest the Suns pick Tyler Zeller over Austin Rivers.

    Will fate cause the Suns to pick another “lesser” brother, in Tyler Zeller? Stay tuned. :)

  • 3 Tony // May 30, 2012 at 1:56 am

    @Rich,

    there are no franchise-type players left in free agency, so the only chance the team has of landing one is through the draft. They also don’t have the trade assets to get one via trade. Teams’ are not going to just trade away their best players just to receive salary cap space.

    If the Suns don’t get lucky and move up in the draft, then this season will have ended up being a strategic failure for the organization. Deciding not to tank is all well and good but not making the playoffs in conjunction with most likely landing the 13th spot in the draft, or the second-worst pick to get, would have basically made the Suns season a waste. They can’t rebuild with more role players, nor can they attract elite talent through free agency with such a weak roster. Furthermore, when the Suns likely bottom-out next season and are one of the worst teams in the league, they won’t get to rely on as strong a draft as this year’s coming draft.

    Hey Michael, if you want to talk about the Suns being lucky, how about you mention a possible change in ownership as extremely lucky for the franchise and its fans? I mean how bad must it get before you write an article taking the Suns FO to task for the Suns current predicament? Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic has repeatedly done this, but too few others of the local media have shown any gumption to challenge Sarver.

  • 4 shazam // May 30, 2012 at 3:41 am

    tony the arizona republic get access regardless of what they write about…sites like this one can and will get shut out if they go after sarver..that means no more free tickets for michael and no more access to press conferences..i think if you read michaels articles closely you will see that he does chastise sarver when warranted..he just doesnt call him out on the carpet by name often..and that is good for us…this site provides amazing info about a lot of things…why lose it over the 800 pound gorilla in the room?..and bro before you get into conspiracy theories please know that i dont know or have even met michael scwartz..i do understand how the media and the suns organization works though..i know more about those subjects than i do the super geek number crunching of basketball players ..as you know i totally agree with you on about 99 percent of what you post
    8-)

  • 5 Rich Anthony, (KJL) // May 30, 2012 at 6:12 am

    @Tony

    There are no franchise players left… THIS off-season. There probably won’t be any available NEXT off-season.

    So, you stock the shelves with the complimentary pieces. Or, you get your seasonings and spices ready for when you go out and grab that steak.

    It is what it is. In terms of success, this season, and the off-season are failures. Being loyal to Nash and in turn, signing a bunch of 1-year contracts to best compliment him did not land us in the playoffs and it also kept us from a better chance at a better spot in the draft.

    And again, they can’t attract much top-level talent with the roster as it stands THIS off-season and probably NEXT off-season.

    Who cares. The franchise pretty much went all in on SSOL and the mutated spawns of that child over the last few seasons. Time for new DNA.

    So, with whatever draft pick is out there, you draft the best player available. The Suns sort-of / kind-of did that with Morris, though that was still more of the Nash-driven system talking.

    This year, whoever is sitting there at 13 or 10 or, 15 – whatever position, you make sure he’s the best player available and you take him. You play him beside Gortat and Morris and you let them develop rapidly.

    Keep up the 1-year contracts; keep that cap space at the ready.

    If a contender wants a JMZ or a Frye or anybody not named Gortat, (because unless there are plans to some how bring in a juggernaut player, Gortat should not be moved), then you try to get a low 1st rounder for them because if a team is after one of those guys for a contending run, they’re not going to be losing a top pick anyway.

    Then you draft the 1 or 2 best players available in the next draft and as long as you haven’t picked 3 Sam Bowies, you’ve got youth at most positions lots of cap space, and a new CBA in full effect with top level talent unable to be retained by their teams. Not all of them anyway.

    That strategy or some cousin of it is where we’re at right now.

    People can keep complaining about ownership and decisions made in the past but it’ll make no difference moving forward. It is what it is.

    There will be no quick fix and there will be no serious runs for at least two seasons. No need to tank either, rock bottom is already here. The win / loss record will take care of itself.

  • 6 steve // May 30, 2012 at 8:09 am

    “there are no franchise-type players left in free agency, so the only chance the team has of landing one is through the draft”

    Did the new CBA eradicate trading? I wasn’t aware of that, but I haven’t read the whole thing through and through.

    Granted, a trade might not be likely, but it’s still possible and easily the best chance for the Suns to get a star this coming season (or really any season). Big trades happen a lot more frequently than big FA signings, especially for mid-market teams. An FA signing is pretty much out of the question in any year, not just this year. Since the creation of free agency, how many big free agent signings have the Suns had? Chambers, Nash… is there anyone else?

    Big FA signings have never happened for the Suns on a regular basis, and I don’t expect that to be changing any time soon.

    “…a possible change in ownership as extremely lucky for the franchise and its fans?”

    How would added instability and uncertainty be a good thing for the franchise? How would more firings/hirings in the front office be a good thing? New isn’t always better. You might get Mark Cuban. You might be Donald Sterling.

    Perhaps Michael doesn’t take the time to write an article blasting Sarver because those who hate Sarver will continue to hate him no matter what. Writing an article like that is done for no other reason than to connect with the audience, puff up their chests, and make them feel like they know what they’re talking about because they agree with a “professional.” Probably around 90% of Suns fans hate Sarver, and the other 10% either don’t care or actually understand the role of a managing partner to a better degree than the 90% and recognize the element of chance in sports.

    0% like him. He’s a completely unlikeable person (from the few glimpses any of us actually get at him).

    No article, whether it’s from VotS, the Republic, or the New York Times, is going to have any impact whatsoever on this ownership group’s grip on the franchise. I guarantee that no one worth hundreds of millions of dollars cares what “Tony,” “steve,” Michael Schwartz, Dan Bickley, or anyone else on this planet has to say.

    So, what good would that Sarver-bashing article be? And that’s an honest question to you. What good would it accomplish? Please answer that. For real.

    How would it be anything more than a pity party for the 90% who believe that Sarver is everything wrong with the Suns? How would it be anything more than a chance for all the whiners to convene and cry about what a mess Sarver has made of the Colangelos’ beautiful creation?

    This is a basketball site. And I think everyone here would appreciate it if you would talk about basketball more than your obsession with Sarver.

  • 7 GoSuns // May 30, 2012 at 9:50 am

    well it has been 13 years since the 13th team has moved up in the draft, got my fingers crossed

  • 8 Ty-Sun // May 30, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Well you never really know what will happen in the lottery or otherwise they wouldn’t bother having one. I hope the Suns get lucky but I’m certainly not counting on it. And even at 13 you never really know what you’ll get out of the draft, especially in a deeper than normal draft like this year. Drafting a Batman at 13 is extremely unlikely but a Robin? Possible. Some players pick up their game when they get in the pros, others fall flat on their faces. And I’m not really sure that drafting the most talented player left is always the best strategy if you don’t have one of the top 5 or 10 picks. Basketball IQ means a lot too.

  • 9 steve // May 30, 2012 at 10:33 am

    @Ty-Sun

    I agree that it’s very unlikely to get a Batman at 13. No argument there. However, it’s definitely not impossible. One of the top 20 players (maybe top 10, and some would argue top 5, although I think that’s a stretch) of all time was the 13th overall pick back in ’96.

    Since 2000, here are the 13th picks:

    Courtney Alexander (ouch)
    Richard Jefferson (I’d take an RJ type player at 13 any day)
    Marcus Haislip (I know what you’re thinking. Who?)
    Marcus Banks (yikes)
    Bassy (gotta do better than that for #13)
    Sean May (this is starting to look really bad)
    Thabo Sefolosha (quality asset, I’d say. I like Thabo, even though stats don’t favor him)
    Julian Wright (huh?)
    Brandon Rush (hasn’t panned out well at all)
    Tyler Hansbrough (love that kid. I’d want him on my team)
    Ed Davis (very overlooked, but I think he’ll be a quality player in the NBA for 10 years)
    Kieff (I think Kieff will be a quality player for quite some time as well)

    Out of those 12 picks, I’d only want 5 of those guys on my team, and I’d only consider three of them worth the #13 pick (Thabo and Bassy shouldn’t have been #13).

    Interestingly enough, I’d say that the quality of players from 10-20 is no better (or even worse) than the quality of players from 20-30 or from 30-40.

  • 10 Ty-Sun // May 30, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Right, Steve. That’s why I say that the basketball IQ might be more important than talent once you get past the top 10 picks. Selecting players that fit into your team’s system – offensively and defensively – makes a big difference too but I’m not sure that’s more important than basketball IQ. Smart players can figure out how to make the best use of their skills in any system.

  • 11 Tony // May 30, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    @Steve,

    come on now, what team would trade their star player for the likes of Gortat or Dudley, who are the two best trade assets left for the Suns? Trading for a franchise player, with the current assets the Suns have, is about as likely as the Suns getting the number 1 pick in this year’s draft. To get something of value, you have to give something of value. The Suns simply don’t have the requisite value in terms of roster personnel to entice another team to trade their franchise player.

    As far as new ownership is concerned, I know you’ll disagree with this, but really, how much worse could a new owner be than how bad a job Sarver has done? The only current owner I can think of who is worse than Sarver is Jordan. Furthermore, the Suns franchise is still ranked very highly in terms of franchise worth, so it’s unlikely a new owner would attempt to move the team outside of Phoenix.

    Lastly, the reason I encourage Michael and others in the local media to explicitly write about Sarver’s poor performance is to hopefully inspire him to change. It’s well-known Sarver disdains criticism, in fact he used to hire bloggers to write on his behalf. He’s a guy who was born on third-base but thinks he hit a tripple. With that said, hopefully with enough criticism directed his way, he will want to prove everyone wrong by doing everything in his power to build an elite team.

    I realize it’s unlikely to have much if any effect on Sarver, but winning starts at the top and unless Sarver sells or changes his ways of being an owner, the Suns simply won’t win and will remain in irrelevancy.

  • 12 steve // May 30, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Who was involved in the Barkley deal? The Suns got a two-dollar piece for a quarter and a few dimes. I know those deals don’t happen every day, but you can’t say they don’t happen at all. I’m not saying it’s LIKELY that the Suns will land a big player through a trade. I’m saying it’s more likely that they land that name through a trade than through FA.

    “winning starts at the top”

    I’ve heard you say this many times, and I really couldn’t disagree more.

    There are a ton of brilliant people who never taste success in their lives, and there are a ton of morons who can’t help but turn everything they touch into gold. I won’t go through the exercise again because I know it will do you no good, but if you look up a list of “worst owners,” it will be littered with world champions.

  • 13 Scott // May 30, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    @steve -

    I don’t have a problem with Sarver. He’s done a decent job, and he’s put himself out there more than other owners. The fans and media people that hate him are for the most part ignorant, intolerant, and unreasonable, choosing to look at just part of the picture, and looking for somebody to blame.

    As for the draft, the problem with picking at #13 is that you’re more likely to get a role player at best, because these are the quality guys who didn’t make it to the lottery. The picks after the middle of the first round are often more interesting, as they can be either a surprising hit or a bust.

    As a reminder, Carlos Boozer went in the 2nd round. Manu Ginobili was nearly Mr. Irrelevant, as was Marcin Gortat. MarShon Brooks, who we were whining about a few months ago, was another 2nd round pick.

    Players who currently project to go after #13 (on Draft Express) who may have some quality are:

    #14, Tyler Zeller: an athletic 7′ C with a motor who already shoots 80% from the line and rebounds.

    #19, Moe Harkless: reminds me of Dudley, though he’s thinner and more athletic. He’s 6’8″, and had to play PF/C for his college team, so he’s used to being around the basket. He has a lot of energy; he played an average of 36 minutes a game, and sometimes played the whole game. While his handling and perimeter shooting skills need work, he’s the kind of person who works on his game. Presently he’s doing 12 hour days in the gym.

    #21, Meyers Leonard: similar to Zeller, Leonard is also a rim protector, and in general probably a plug-in replacement for Lopez.

    #24, Arnett Moultrie: another 7′-er who shoots nearly 80% FT, his specialty is rebounds and putbacks. His motor is inconsistent and his defense is still in development, but he’s not raw.

    #32, Festus Ezeli: does not rebound, score, or defend in all aspects like he should, but he has a solid body and is still developing his skills. The potential is there.

    #41, Kyle O’Quinn: he’s 6′ 10″ with a 7′ 5″ wingspan. He’s got a NBA body, he’s defensively sound (blocks, rebounds). Not a leaper, he has good timing. A decent scorer, he stands out more for his passing ability and high b-ball IQ. If it sounds like he should go much higher, what holds him back is his poor shooting and “below average” athleticism. If he could work out more and refine his shot / shot selection, he could be a star player.

  • 14 Scott // May 30, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    #43, Jae Crowder: at 6′ 6″ and 235 lbs, Crowder is built a lot like Jason Richardson. A hustle guy with a high b-ball IQ who is not a leaper, Crowder also resembles Dudley. He’s shooting 38% from 3, and 73% from the line. Though he’ not a ball handler, his assist to turnover ratio is excellent. He’s also a lockdown defender who can defend all 5 positions.

    If you read through those recommendations, you’ll see that most of them are big men. That’s because this year there are more quality big men in the draft, and I also have more trouble piercing the veil of hype that typically surrounds the smaller players, who tend to be scorers.

  • 15 . // May 30, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Dun worry…Sun’s got this. FO will even sign Free Agent Scalabrine. He’ll take Phoenix to the promise land.

  • 16 Al // May 30, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    I actually got Phoenix to win the first pick in my 9th try.I have no way to save or post the ESPN NBA Lottery Mock Draft. It was Phoenix, Cle, Wizards, Charlotte, Hornets, Kings, Portland, JAZZ, Tor, Piston, Hornets, Port, Mil, And Rockets. It’s POSSIBLE.

  • 17 Tony // May 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    @Scott,

    you think Sarver’s done a reasonable job???? Wow! What an ignorant statement! So I suppose inheriting a team with JJ, Amare, Marion, and Nash, and in only 8 years the starting lineup likely including only Gortat as a legitimate starter at this point really demonstrates how good a job Sarver has done, right? I suppose selling the draft rights of Rondo, Gortat, Deng, and Ibaka, further demonstrates he’s done a reasonable job. Or the constant turnover of not just the roster but also the front office thereby preventing any sort of long term chemistry is indicative of good ownership too, right? To use your words with a slight adjustment, only ignorant, intolerant, and the unreasonable believe Sarver’s done a decent job as owner!

    @Steve,

    Please give me one example of an NBA team with a below-average owner who has taken his team to the Finals….I”ve never seen a team win a championship without good ownership, so what team are you talking about?

  • 18 Tony // May 30, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Well, so much for the Suns getting lucky into the top-3 pick. With the Hornets getting the number 1 pick and the 10th pick, and with a healthy Gordon, it looks like the Hornets might be on their way to possibly making the postseason next season.
    The Blazers also getting the 6th and the 11th pick are also likely to dramatically improve next year.

    Looks like it’s going to be another tough season to watch for Suns fans.

  • 19 steve // May 30, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    “Below-average” is completely subjective, as are all of the terms involved in judging the quality of an owner (whose responsibilities are seriously misunderstood by a vast majority of people).

    That said, Jerry Reinsdorf has won 6 championships, and he would make most top 20 “worst owner” lists in any sport. He would make virtually every top 5 “worst owner” list if it were NBA-only, and probably every top-3 list.

    Don’t believe me that virtually everyone believes he is an awful owner, google it.

    I’m not trying to say that having a good owner is a bad thing or having a bad owner is a good thing. What I am trying to say is that it’s not nearly as simple as “winning starts at the top.”

  • 20 Scott // May 30, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    @Tony -

    I know you blame everything on Sarver, and you even believe it’s a reasonable thing to do. You think he’s the one pulling all the strings at the Suns, instead of running his bank and occasionally popping over to Suns HQ to see what’s going on.

    But I don’t know why you don’t hand equal blame to Jenny Craig. After all, I’m sure she doesn’t have anything to do at her business either, and instead comes by the Suns office every day to tell the Suns what to do. :p

  • 21 shazam // May 30, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    mark my words..the bobcats will be better than the suns in 2 years..there is only one person who decides if the biz model is to continue selling tickets w/ a mediocre team or playing mid level players and getting high lottery picks ..that one persons name is sarver

  • 22 Scott // May 31, 2012 at 12:15 am

    @shazam -

    If the Bobcats are better than the Suns in 2 years, that would be either a miracle for the Bobcats or an unimaginable curse upon the Suns. ;)

  • 23 Tony // May 31, 2012 at 1:28 am

    @Scott,

    is that your best comeback? Jenny Craig? Wow, that’s a pretty lame response.

    I don’t understand why you can’t seem to grasp the importance ownership plays in determining the success or failure of an organization….The owner brings the financial backing and the vision of the organization he wants. Sure, others in the organization handle the day-to-day requirements in running the organization, but ultimately they are constrained by the financial limits Sarver sets. It’s why in the past when Mike D’Antoni was coach, that he was reportedly told by Sarver that he could either use the draft pick or sign a veteran, but he couldn’t do both. Or Sarver’s decision to force Kerr out by demanding a pay cut and bringing in Babby and Blanks. These were his actions and there is no doubt that these decisions have dramatic ramifications on the fortunes of the Suns in the future.

  • 24 Scott // May 31, 2012 at 2:28 am

    @Tony -

    A lame comeback? Maybe it wasn’t a comeback at all. I just acknowledge your opinion. It makes no sense to me, as I said, but that’s okay. I’m not such an egotist that I think everybody has to share my point of view.

    Also, there’s no need for you to further explain your hatred of Sarver. You choose to blame him for everything. I accept that.

    However, your stories about Sarver and D’Antoni or Sarver and Kerr aren’t truth-based.

    Kerr left for his own reasons, as he said, after driving off D’Antoni, trading Marion for Shaq, masterminding the disastrous Kurt Thomas trade, and advising the multi-million dollar payoffs of Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic. Maybe he decided he was more moron than genius and wanted to get himself out of the way before he did more damage. Who knows? But he thought a different sort of talent should be brought to the GM position. As one of the members of ownership group, he recommended the hire of Blanks and Babby. It was his idea. That’s been covered before.

    And you’re rewriting history relating to D’Antoni and the draft picks. I covered that in detail months ago. Please review this independent recap of the situation: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1015694-the-worst-phoenix-suns-trades-of-the-last-decade

    Sarver did not tell D’Antoni he could have either rookies or veterans. And Sarver did not sell the picks to try to make extra money, either. What happened was that D’Antoni and Kerr made bad decisions, though it seemed reasonable to them at the time.

    But you don’t seem to like the truth, so believe what you want, and hate Sarver all you wish. It’s okay with me. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no need for you to defend your beliefs.

  • 25 shazam // May 31, 2012 at 2:28 am

    AND after he forced kerr out over a pay cut after they made it to wc finals (wtf) he signed childress and warrick and turkeyglue during a period of management void…THEN HE hired babby the same turd who sold us that crap…dont tell me all owners dont play a big part…the good ones dont..but meddlesome trust funders do

  • 26 shazam // May 31, 2012 at 2:36 am

    scott if you want to understand basketball the first rule is to never read the bleacher report.

  • 27 Tony // May 31, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    @Scott,

    wow! You are completely mistaken. I’m getting my info from Paul Coro, and he previously reported that Sarver told D’Antoni he couldn’t have both the draft pick and a veteran. Furthermore, Kerr was expecting a pay raise after the great run to the WCFs but Sarver demanded he and the rest of the FO take a pay cut. Again, this was reported by Coro and Bickley. Next, Sarver orchestrated the Thomas trade not Kerr. I mean, come on, use some logic. What incentive would Kerr possibly have to trade Thomas and two 1st round picks for nothing?? You are absolutely wrong Scott. I don’t know where you’re getting your information, probably from Sarver himself, but facts are facts.

  • 28 Scott // May 31, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    @Tony -

    I would like to see where Coro said these thing you attribute to him. However, Bickley thrives on speculation, aspersions, and innuendo, so I have no trouble imagining him saying such things. He’s probably your source.

  • 29 steve // May 31, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Kerr blamed himself for that trade, and if you read between the lines of what he said, you could *possibly* infer that Kerr was told to “cut costs.”

    Either way, a reasonable person wouldn’t immediately jump to the conclusion that Robert Sarver, the managing partner of the ownership group, instructed Steve Kerr, the General Manager (and member of the ownership group) to dump Kurt Thomas for two first rounders.

    Best case for Sarver’s sanity: He had nothing to do with the deal except for trusting his GM’s call.

    Worst case for Sarver’s sanity: He told Kerr to cut costs, and he trusted Kerr’s decision.

    Tony’s case for Sarver’s sanity: Sarvery strong-armed Kerr immediately after hiring him and forced him at gunpoint to dump a solid role player for two first round picks.

    Let me just ask you this. Would you have wanted to pay Kurt Thomas nearly $20M? That’s where they were at when that deal went down. Can you really blame Kerr/Sarver/D’Antoni all that much for what they did?

  • 30 steve // May 31, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Sorry, I meant “…a solid role player [AND] two first round picks,” obviously.

  • 31 Scott // May 31, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    @steve -

    Keep in mind that while Kerr was GM, he was also an owner.

    If he was told by ownership to do something, chances are it was at least partially his own idea.

  • 32 Scott // May 31, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    @steve -

    Let me add that it is even possible that most of the decisions attributed to Sarver actually come from Kerr, as he is the only member of the ownership group with actual basketball experience. They probably all look to him for guidance.

  • 33 John // Jun 1, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    The draft is a once in a million chance at landing a franchise player unless you are a top 5 in a deep draft. There are plenty of teams that wont be able to afford to keep these guys under contract for more than 2-3 years, a la the Heat. IT’s widely reported that this may be their last shot to do it and if they dont, they are going to look to trade away one of their keys with the exception og LeBron. Dwight is another one that will more than likely be traded. D. Will is another that could be signing somehwere elese. There are plenty of chances for us to make a move just like the Lakers did in ’08 where Memphis had to dump Pau and the Lakers went from being an “OK” team to instant contender. Or how about when Minn wanted to off KG in exchange for our #1 pick and Marion. Teams do some strange stuff and I guess we have to hope for the best

  • 34 bk // Jun 3, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Mike, the chance to get #1 pick is 0.4%. So, the 96% of your article should be 99.6%.

  • 35 Michael Schwartz // Jun 3, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    @bk No, they had a 0.6 percent chance at No. 1 and an overall 96 percent chance at staying at No. 13 since they could have moved down to 14 or moved up to 2 or 3 as well.

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