Phoenix Suns face long odds of moving up from 13

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.

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Tags: Suns Lottery

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