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.