NBA Draft Lottery 2012: Phoenix Suns once again get No. 13 pick


For the second year in a row, the NBA Draft Lottery ping pong balls relegated the Phoenix Suns to select at the 13th overall position in the NBA Draft.

With a 0.6 percent chance to win the Anthony Davis sweepstakes via the No. 1 pick, the Suns missed out on the first three picks that were chosen by the bounce of the ping pong balls, their fate instead determined by their record.

Suns fans probably had little hope that luck would come their way at the 2012 NBA Draft Lottery in New York City that was attended by Suns vice president of player programs Mark West, but there was hope. After all, the New Orleans Hornets jumped several spots to claim the first pick, hopping Cleveland, Washington and Charlotte, who had a 25 percent chance of winning.

ESPN’s Michael Wilbon even threw the Suns’ name out in the prediction portion lead-in to the lottery, saying they’d be a 50-win team if the impossible occured. Then again, that’s probably a selfish comment by a sports fan who resides in Scottsdale.

So fate isn’t on Phoenix’s side, but now we get to start looking at what’s available.

At 13, Markieff Morris was the Suns’ choice last season and turned out to be a key contributor despite the 2011 class being considered relatively weak.

This year, the depth of the 2012 class could do Phoenix some favors, especially if a big-time talent slips on draft day. DraftExpress.com has the Suns taking Duke guard Austin Rivers with the 13th pick, and history shows there’s been talent this deep in the draft to choose from.

Remember, it was Kobe Bryant who was taken No. 13 in the 1996 NBA Draft. Other players that turned into stars at unlucky No. 13 were Karl Malone in 1985 and Jalen Rose in 1994.

If anything, the slot should provide a valuable role player at the least. Players like Thabo Sefolosha and Tyler Hansbrough are two recent success stories with No. 13, and guys like Dale Davis, Richard Jefferson and Corey Maggette all had varied success in the league.

Current Suns point guard Sebastian Telfair was also taken at 13, and he turned into a viable backup option at point guard, especially during the second half of last season.

And in this year’s deep draft, some good research by the Suns’ front office could find a diamond in the rough — a few swings and misses by a couple teams in front of Phoenix could give them an even bigger opportunity.

  • Scott

    Well at least that’s settled. No need for maintaining the unrealistic expectations of landing #1. ;)

  • Scott

    Now shall we start the betting on whether or not the Suns pick Zeller at #13? :)

  • Bill-in-Tokyo

    @ Scott
    I agree. Rivers for all his hype has poor shooting %’s. How can you miss FT’s if you know how to shoot? Rivers seems to me another one of those goin’-ta-be greats who never are. Terrance Ross with his shooting ability/size is positively a better choice than Rivers. But I agree on Zeller. Trade one of the 3 centers so the Suns have to another pick.

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    The mocks have the Suns taking Austin Rivers. Now, if the Suns are looking to shop JMZ or have plans not to bring Redd back then I’m alright with that pick.

    For those who are not, A quick question for you.

    Rivers can be developed in a system that favors him with a coach who will know how to use his skill set. Would you rather have him or another year of Shannon Brown, a year of Jamal Crawford, or go back in time with Vince Carter? I’d rather take Rivers. If for no other reason he’s going to be by far the cheapest option versus bringing any hired gun via free agency.

    HOWEVAH –

    Oh, and no the Suns will not pick Zeller. Even if RoLo tells the team he has no interests in coming back, Zeller will not be the pick. Frye will just get retained and be the center for the second unit because Gortat has the 5 spot on lock.

    HOWEVAH – (again)

    Taking the top half of the lottery draft picks out of the way, there are a few guys I’d be okay with if PHX selected them.

    My rankings of players who could be there at 13 depending on what the teams just ahead of us do.

    1) Damian Lillard – Weber State – 6’2″ 185 – PG

    If the Suns do not go after Dragon, (or Lowry as the whispers out of Houston continue on), if Lillard is there you have to take him. He has the vision you need in Gentry’s system and if bigs stay at home on the PnR he can score from anywhere.

    2) Dion Waiters – Syracuse – 6’4″ 215 – SG

    For the bottom half of the lottery-portion of the draft, he as close as we’re going to get to that J-Rich / Barbosa type of 2 guard who isn’t out there to just camp in corners or on the elbow somewhere and fire.

    He absolutely attacks and he’s a better option than some of the names I mentioned before and I believe, for Gentry’s system, he’d be more valuable than Rivers.

    3) Jared Sullinger – Ohio State – 6’9″ 244 – PF

    If all of the guards are gone, then I go this route. I don’t expect Warrick, Frye, and RoLo to all return next season, and Sullinger boards better than any of them. He’d play the 4 next to Gortat and he’d give the team what many of us says it lacks. A thick powerful player down low who can hold his own. I always say the offense will come for the Suns. Imagine if Gortat had this guy helping him grab rebounds.

    4) Austin Rivers (see above)

    I didn’t include those who I thought would be gone. For Gentry’s system, I absolutely love Perry Jones and Andre Drummond but I don’t see either of them lasting past the 8th pick.

    If the Suns are not going to go out and hire Nash’s successor, then I really hope they draft Lillard if he is there.

  • Scott

    @Rich -

    Keep in mind that Frye is apparently out for 6-8 months with that shoulder. I would not be surprised if the Suns plan to hold him out for the full 8 months, which would basically keep him off the court till 2013.

    “I had really jacked it up,” Frye said. “They basically said it looked like a bomb exploded inside my shoulder.”

    So there will be a need for a replacement, and maybe 2 if there is also no Lopez. (Heck, maybe 3 if Gortat is traded.) Siler might be called back, and the Suns might draft big. But we’ll have to see how the rankings change – and they will – over the next month, to really know who the Suns will pick.

    Re: the picks you mentioned …

    The ding on Lillard is that he may not do much more than score, which is not a Suns type PG. We’ll have to see how he fares in try outs. Also, Draft Express has moved him up to #10, so he may be out of reach. (#10, btw, is another pick for the Hornets, so they might have a very nice team next year, what with, say, Lillard, Davis, and Gordon.)

    Waiters seems pretty good on both offense and defense; he can handle and he can shoot the 3. His FT% is about 73%, and he can pass (with low turnovers), which would seem to put him ahead of Brown. However, he does have difficulty in half court offense and can struggle to create his shot; outside of the pick and roll his b-ball IQ is limited.

    Sullinger is likely to go before the Suns pick, otherwise I’m fine with taking him. Draft Express has him at #6.

    BTW, even Kendall Marshall is now ranking above #13.

    Players who might fall a bit include John Henson (he can’t shoot) and Jeremy Lamb (inconsistent motor / attitude).

    Depending on what the Suns do in terms of trades, I might be tempted to offer the Cavs the #13 pick in exchange for both their 2nd rounders (#33, #34). Then I’d take Kyle O’Quinn and Jae Crowder, if they’re still pegged as 2nd rounders.

    While they’re not as talented as some of the others, both bodies look like they’re NBA-ready and they could make significant contributions off the bench in their first year. Crowder would be a choice for a wing spot, as he can defend and shoot the spot up 3, which would make him a particularly good companion for Redd, if he’s there. (Basically, he’d be like Childress, but with a 3 pt shot.)

    O’Quinn can play like a passing/scoring Diaw at C in addition to using his sneaky length (7′ 5″ wingspan) to block shots. O’Quinn shoots a super efficient 61% inside the arc.

    Both guys have a high b-ball IQ, but they do have their dings. Crowder can’t handle or create his own shot, and O’Quinn lacks athleticism, the ability to guard the perimeter, and he needs some work on his shooting mechanics before he attempts more 3s.

  • Scott

    I should add that Crowder also converts his shots within the arc at 61%, and he plays well without the ball.

    So while neither O’Quinn nor Crowder are athletic specimens, they defend and score and play savvy ball (like Dudley, Love, Scola, and both Gasols).

  • Tony

    At this point, with the Suns already likely to be a horrible team next season, the dummies in the FO should look to move up in the draft by offering the 13th pick and Gortat. Gortat is a good player but he’s already in his prime. It’s pointless to let him waste away the best years of his career on a lottery team when they might be able to move up in the draft and hopefully be able to draft the franchise’s next foundational player. Since Nash is likely signing elsewhere, it’s imperative that the Suns FO obtain a new franchise-caliber player to rebuild around. Gortat is simply not good enough to fill that role and his trade value is unlikely to get any higher than it currently is.

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    The thing about giving up Gortat and 13 to move up is you’re subtracting from the team for an unknown college player.

    This lottery year is pretty good, but not sure-fire good enough that you give up a current-15/10 center for a chance basically.

    I’d keep Gortat and hold firm at 13 because it’s almost certain that the Suns will have somebody available to them who can start right away. Start getting those pieces in house.

    And really, I think Gortat will have a better year this year even without Nash. Sure Nash assisted on 6,000% of his shots but I don’t think he needs it to be Nash out there. I think he can feed off of any point guard with passing ability.

    No way the Suns trade out for 2nd rounders. The FO would be stoned to death.

    I don’t know what Frye being out means. Really, Frye wasn’t around this season was he? More time for Morris.

    Also on Lillard, yeah he scored a ton. You seen that Weber State team?!? I don’t think he has that sort of urgency scoring wise in the NBA. if it’s there he’ll take it, but I think if the passing lane is there he’d be fine with the assist.

    Again, any of those guys I’m fine with. Hell, I don’t even know who’s hot out of Europe yet.

  • steve

    I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist, but the NBA sure doesn’t do anything to help itself out when it comes to quieting its critics.

    Why have a lottery system? Seriously, what purpose does it serve. If the goal is to prevent teams from tanking, fission mailed. Plus, look at the NFL. They had a highly touted, potentially franchise-altering QB to tank for, and no one did. Every team that was in the “Suck for Luck” race tried to win their last game, even if it meant winning themselves out of what might turn out to be the best QB in the league in a few years. That would be like having three teams tied for last going into the last game of the NBA season, all trying to win with LeBron waiting to join the team with the worst record… The lottery serves no purpose whatsoever. Anyone with honor and/or an ounce of pride wouldn’t tank on purpose. I guess the only thing the lottery shows us is that there is no honor in the Association.

    The lottery also just adds fuel to the fire for those who think the process is rigged. 3 of 18 now. That’s how many times the team with the best chance to win the lottery has actually won it, and there have been more than a few years where the NBA has had more than a few reasons to pick the ping pong balls their way…

    And then there’s the officiating. It’s something that someone complains about every single game, and the league’s response (along with the winning team) is, “bad calls go both ways.” Now, since that’s just the way it is right now, I agree to an extent that you just have to live with the way the cards are dealt. HOWEVER, if the NBA realizes that at least half the fans watching any given game are mad after every game, and if they realize that anyone with a brain could see that the NBA does the worst job of officiating out of any sports league in the world, why wouldn’t they be trying to offer some sort of a fix?

    I’m not trying to say that officiating a basketball game is easy. All I’m trying to say is that there should be a system in place to REVERSE mistakes, rather than just force everyone to live with them. There are huge moments in games that literally decide it, and no one has any other option besides living with the bad result. I didn’t watch the Heat/Celtics last night, but I heard enough to know that Rajon Rondo was fouled in a tie game in overtime, no call was made, and it resulted in two points on the other end. That was a four point swing right there, just because the official made a mistake at the most critical juncture of the game. How much did the Celtics lose by again?

    The NBA is a joke. I really love my Suns, but I don’t know if I can bother with the league any more. The way they run this business, it’s as if they don’t want to get any bigger. They want to be the villains. The most covered team in the NBA is a team full of villains. For some reason, they embrace the hatred of the masses.

    The NBA needs to get with the times and start fixing its problems.

  • Cam

    I think if the suns can find a way to get Kendall Marshall and Dion Waiters in this draft then they may have the foundation for a strong backcourt going forward. Re sign hill, amnesty Childress, and go from there.
    Go Suns.

  • Ty-Sun

    I don’t think that the lottery system is perfect but because the teams with the worst record only got the #1 pick 3 of 18 times then it at least lets teams know that tanking isn’t definitely going to get them the #1 pick. It isn’t going to stop tanking but at least it discourages it.

    As for officiating mistakes, perhaps the NBA should initiate something similar to what the NFL has done by allowing coaches to challenge certain calls and those plays MUST be reviewed by the officials right then.

  • Yohance

    I love to package up a trade to get Mayo,
    Joe Johnson, Harden, or Bradley from Boston.
    Then we could pick up another skilled or
    athletic big man like Josh Smith, Gasol, or Aldridge
    the suns would definitely be contenders in the
    playoffs. Keep Nash, Hill, for a few more years until we
    can find good replacements. Have Fry, Lopez, Morris, Bassy,
    and Dudley come off the bench.

  • steve

    I was thinking exactly that, Ty-Sun. Two or three challenges a game, like football or tennis would be perfect. Imagine if a coach’s challenge rule had been around in the NBA back when the refs beat the Mavs in the NBA Finals (and yes, I meant to use the word “refs”)? It could have swung a championship, and I think it would improve the integrity and excitement of the game.

    There is nothing to lose by instituting such a rule.

  • Yohance

    I love to package up a trade to get Mayo,
    Joe Johnson, Harden, or Bradley from Boston.
    Then we could pick up another skilled or
    athletic big man like Josh Smith, Gasol, or Aldridge
    the suns would definitely be contenders in the
    playoffs. Keep Nash, Hill, for a few more years until we
    can find good replacements. Have Fry, Lopez, Morris, Bassy,
    and Dudley come off the bench. We would

  • GoSuns

    I hope we look at jarret jack

  • Yohance

    be set. I also like Redd but I think he won’t ever
    return to Allstar form. But I would think about keeping him
    or signing a Ray Allen type of player if the price is right. It never hurts to have a pure assassin/knockdown shooter in your back pocket, especially with a critical game on the line.

  • Ty-Sun

    Ummm… no offense intended but if you want to keep Nash, Hill, Frye, Lopez, Morris, Bassy and Dudley, who are the Suns supposed trade for Mayo/Johnson/Harden/Bradley and/or Smith/Gasol/Aldridge? Gortat, Childress and Warrick? Those are the only 3 players that the Suns will have under contract next season that they will be able to trade that you didn’t want to keep. At the moment I doubt anyone is dieing to trade anyone for Childress or Warrick but you might be able to make a package deal for Gortat and one of them to make one of those trades but not both.

    I’d take a chance on Mayo who is a restricted free agent this year so no trade offer need to be made for him. If he decides to resign with Memphis then trying to trade for him would be almost impossible. Gortat is the only guy you didn’t mention keeping that Memphis might actually want but they already have Marc Gasol so the really wouldn’t want him unless they could work out some sort of three team trade. I wouldn’t want Joe Johnson back especially with his overbloated contract. He just isn’t worth that kind of money. I like Harden but he’s already showing in the playoffs that while he’s a great sixth man he’s not a starter. Boston might give up Bradley IF Gortat was included in the trade but the contract numbers don’t match up and the Suns would have to take on at least one other undesirable contract to make that deal.

    The Suns have virtually no chance of trading for Pau Gasol or Aldridge but Josh smith is a possibility although I doubt that Atlanta would trade him to the Suns for any combo of Gortat, Childress and/or Warrick. But in a three (or more) team trade, it’s possible, just not likely.

  • JZ

    With the 13th pick Phoenix should draft either Tyler Zeller or Austin Rivers or Arnett Moultrie/Meyers Leonard. Phoenix should not be drafting a point guard. Lillard plays like Aaron Brooks and Kendall Marshall will probably be gone to the Hornets or Blazers before Suns get a chance to pick.
    I truly think Phoenix should use Gortat as trade bait and draft a new Center. Plenty Sun fans consider Gortat to be a cornerstone. GOOD. I just hope that other team GM’s see him that way as well. Phoenix could send the POLISH PAMPER to another team for a go to scorer.

  • Tony

    @Rich,

    the point you’re missing is that even at 38, Nash is still by far the best passer in the league. I suppose Raymond Felton might be a possibility since he played so well under D’Antoni with Amare in the pick-and-rolls. But since he’s a bit of a malcontent and his play is very erratic, I rather not see him as a Sun. Other than him, what other pg has the passing ability of Nash or even close to his passing ability?

    @JZ,

    I agree completely about trading Gortat although I would probably prefer the FO to use him as trade bait to move up in this year’s draft either by moving up from the 13th pick or obtaining another 1st round pick. It just doesn’t make any sense to rebuild around a 28-year old center who isn’t that good of a player anyway. When teams’ see his drop off in performance next season without Nash, his trade value will drop very quickly.

  • Yohance

    @Ty-Sun,

    You make some good points. I guess what I meant
    to say was if they can sign maybe Mayo or a similar type
    of free agent and either package a few assets on our current roster not named Nash or Hill we might can make a significant trade even if it is a three way deal and still be competitive and possibly make the playoffs. I would even consider trading Gortat and anyone not named Nash or Hill for Dwight Howard. I would not want to do it but I might consider even trading my draft pick and Nash if we could land Darren Williams.

  • Ty-Sun

    @Yohance – Good points. I’d love it if the Suns could sign Mayo at a reasonable price as a free agent. Trading Gortat is only an option for me if the Suns can definitely make a really good deal for him though. To me that means getting a VERY strong PF or C in exchange even if the Suns have to give up other assets in the trade. With Frye’s injury, he’s probably untradable during the off season. I like Morris a lot but if he’s linchpin that determines whether the Suns can make a trade (along with Gortat) for a real impact player at either PF or C then I would be all for it.

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    @Tony

    Right. Nash is a great passer. The issue with that is that while Gortat may need a guard to feed him the ball, he doesn’t need the entire team to be constructed in a certain way for things to work.

    **By the way, hell no to Felton**

    If you sign Dragon or deal for a few of the other guards who have been put on the [redacted] block on the down low and I believe he works the same. But if you go that route, then you can also be a bit more flexible about who you draft and who you sign.

    If you watched a bit of Dragon / Lowry in Houston or Evans in SAC, (as examples), they can still get the job done without needing so many spacers and / or room to operate.

    That means that the FO doesn’t have to keep hiring the Shannon Browns, Vince Carters, Warricks of the world because they fit specific needs of the point guard.

    Truthfully, after all of the loving words have been said, I’d put money on Gentry secretly not wanting Nash back.

    His style is the bench mob from the 2010 WCF team. The bench mob from the last third of this season. It’s a PnR spread offense, but while D’Antoni’s was clean and beautiful, Gentry’s version is dirty and a little bit mean.

    I think he’d love for the Suns to sign a proven younger point guard and go after somebody like Sullinger this year.

    Also, so many of you are okay with trading Gortat while saying that he isn’t that good. Okay.

    So, if that is how you feel, might other leage execs share that same feeling? If so, what exactly do you hope to get from teams in a trade for Gortat? If you don’t think he’s that good, and other teams don’t, then what value would he have and what exactly would you hope to get back?

    You wouldn’t get much back.

  • SHAAZAAM

    SULLINGER

  • shazam

    why would some one add an -a- to their name and pretend like its me?..dont they know i make the worst comments in the history of this site?

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