PHOENIX — The most likely odds had Phoenix Suns choosing fifth in the 2013 NBA Draft — that was at 35 percent — and that’s where they fell on Tuesday in the draft lottery.
The Suns came into the day with an 11.9 percent shot of selecting first, a 12.6 percent shot of picking second and a 13.3 percent chance of being third, but the Washington Wizards made a leap up the draft board. With a 70.3 percent shot of selecting eighth, the Wizards jumped to the third slot. Cleveland, which came in with the third-best chances of winning the lottery won while the Orlando Magic came in second.
At fifth, the Suns will see the second-tier level of talent and miss out on Nerlens Noel, Otto Porter and Ben McLemore, who are three players expected to be atop most mock drafts. But the talent dropoff isn’t that big of a gap with only Noel a lock to be selected in the top-three. Victor Oladipo, Anthony Bennett, Trey Burke, C.J. McCollum and Shabazz Muhammad are all in the mix and could do some damage to increase their value with team workouts.
“I think there are more than five good players in this draft,” Suns general manager Ryan McDonough said. “I think the grouping is pretty close. One of the difficult things … is figuring who’s going to be at the five-slot. We’ll prepare for everybody.”
McDonough said the Suns will make a list of eight to 10 players to focus upon regarding their first pick. His draft philosophy is simple: take the best player.
“Ideally, you have a pretty complete player,” he said.
While the Suns are in the fifth slot, they do have enough picks piled up and assets to have a great deal of flexibility. A decipal of the always tinkering Danny Ainge, McDonough said he will explore all possibilities.
“It depends what the price is, what the teams up ahead of us want,” he said. “I’m pretty comfortable in the fifth slot. It depends on what the teams ahead of us are going to do.”
Check back in a bit for a Valley of the Suns Google Hangout show. Here’s a look at the full order of picks.
1st – Cleveland Cavaliers
2nd – Orlando Magic
3rd – Washington Wizards
4th – Charlotte Bobcats
5th – Phoenix Suns
6th – New Orleans Pelicans
7th – Sacramento Kings
8th – Detroit Pistons
9th – Minnesota Timberwolves
10th – Portland Trail Blazers
11th – Philadelphia 76ers
12th – Toronto Raptors
13th – Dallas Mavericks
14th – Utah Jazz