The NBA Draft Lottery of 2014 not only will determine who can legitimately set their sights on Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid and Jabari Parker, but which teams could help their chances at making a solid run at Kevin Love. As such, the Phoenix Suns will have interest in the results beyond their expected draft order.
The Suns are expected to hold form with the 14th, 18th and 27th overall selections, but they have a slim shot at that changing. Even if it doesn’t, it matters if we’re talking Love trade scenarios.
Each NBA team will be assigned a different number of random four-digit combinations out of a 1,001 possible. One of those combinations will be assigned to no team, but the rest will be dolled out by inverse winning percentages — the Milwaukee Bucks and their league-worst record have the best shot at winning at 25 percent, so they own 250 of the 1,000 available combinations.
Lottery balls will be placed in a bin and drawn to create the four-digit combinations. This happens three times to determine the first, second and third picks in the draft, and the remaining lottery teams will fill in the fourth through 14 selections in order of their records.
What are the Suns’ odds?
Phoenix has a 0.5 percent shot of earning the top overall pick, a 0.6 shot of the second overall pick and 0.7 percent opportunity to move to the third overall pick. Add that together, and the Suns have a 1.8 percent chance of moving up in the draft from their current 14th overall draft pick.
If the Suns move into the top-3, they will leapfrog the Minnesota Timberwolves at 13 and push them to 14. The T-Wolves would then owe Phoenix their top-13 protected draft pick that was a part of the Wesley Johnson trade two summers ago. So Phoenix would then own a top three pick along with the 14th, 18th (from Washington) and 27th (from Indiana).
What’s Love got to do with it?
The lottery will determine what high-lottery teams like the Boston Celtics (expected to get the fifth pick) and Los Angeles Lakers (expected to get the sixth pick) can offer for Love. There’s a decent shot at both teams moving into the top-3, which could swing things moreso in their respective favors.
Outside of the slim chance the Suns move into the top-3 themselves, they would benefit by everything holding to form with the Bucks, Sixers, Magic and Jazz earning the first four picks — in that order. Obviously, the Suns moving up would give them even more of an advantage in the Love sweepstakes.
A Love deal isn’t expected to go through until after the draft, for several reasons: the Timberwolves should build up a bidding war and must wait until after the 2014 draft as to help trade partners circumvent the Ted Stepien rule, as ESPN’s Amin Elhassan points out. Waiting until the July free agency period would give them more options in terms of sign-and-trades as well.
NBA Lottery TV info
Time: 5 p.m. MST
2014 NBA Draft pre-lottery order and odds
1. Milwaukee Bucks : 25.0% of winning No. 1 pick
2. Philadelphia 76ers: 19.9%
3. Orlando Magic: 15.6%
4. Utah Jazz: 10.4% (won tiebreaker against Celtics)
5. Boston Celtics: 10.3%
6. Los Angeles Lakers: 6.3%
7. Sacramento Kings: 4.3%
8. Detroit Pistons: 2.8% (conveys to Charlotte if not a top-8 pick)
9. Cleveland Cavaliers: 1.7%
10. New Orleans Pelicans: 1.1% (conveys to Philadelphia if not a top-5 pick)
11. Denver Nuggets: 0.8% (could be conveyed to Orlando; Magic receive lower pick between Denver and New York)
12. New York Knicks: 0.7% (could be conveyed to Orlando; Magic receive lower pick between Denver and New York)
13. Minnesota Timberwolves: 0.6% (conveys to Phoenix if not a top-13 pick)
14. Phoenix Suns: 0.5%