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Phoenix Suns and their NBA draft pick future

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Ready for some bile in your throat? You're already choking some down after watching the Suns lose their 8th in 9 games last night, I know.

But let's take a few minutes to read about some interesting draft pick protections and swaps that can impact the Suns in future years. Not all of it is good.

Future picks coming to the Suns

After all the trades in February, the Suns have three future picks coming to them:

  • Cleveland's first round pick (Top-10 protected) in 2016, via Boston for Isaiah Thomas
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic* in 2016, from the 2014 Draft
  • Miami's first round pick (Top-7 protected) in 2017, 2018 or 2019 for Goran Dragic, two years after Miami sends their pick to Philly
  • Miami's first round pick in 2021 for Goran Dragic, guaranteed, no protection

*late edit: added Bogdan because he's a very good young player who really wants to join the NBA when he's got a cheap buyout option in the summer of 2016. He will be 24 next summer, with high level Euro experience in his back pocket.

Hope the basketball gods really don't give a crap

The Suns gave up their prized pick from the Lakers in the trade for Brandon Knight - a pick that may potentially be a one-that-got-away in short order.

This season the Lakers are stuck at 4th in the draft lottery, solid position to keep their top-5 protected pick.

But if someone up there (or in New York) really wants to mess with the Suns, they would let two teams (not named Suns) beat the odds and jump over the Lakers into the top three, pushing the Lakers down from 4th to 6th.

Imagine that. There's just under a 20% chance that two teams in the 5-14 range jump into the Top 3 of the draft. The Suns are one of those teams, but only have a 3% chance to be the jumper. That leaves a 17% aggregate chance that the Sixers will hold a #6 or #7 pick form the Lakers while the Suns are stuck at #13.

Luckily there's only a 2.3% chance the Suns drop to 14th, and almost 0 chance that happens while watching the Sixers take the Laker pick.

But the Sixers WILL get the Lakers pick eventually, probably even in 2016 as long as the Lakers aren't in the Top 3 of the Draft.

Bright Side for the Suns: There's an 81% chance the Lakers keep their pick this year. Then all they need is an okay summer and a little health to make the pick now going to Philly nothing better than a 10-14 range pick.

Hope Miami wins out

Goran Dragic's Miami Heat are fading lately (35-44 overall). They have lost 8 of their last 11 games, including 5 of their last 6, as they try to push their way into the East playoffs. They lost on Wednesday night after leading by 19 at halftime over Chicago, but only scored 26 second-half points in a 9-point loss. Sound familiar?

Why do we want Miami to win? Because if they stay where they are (10th in the draft order), they keep their pick, rather than conveying it to Philadelphia. If Miami keeps their pick, then their 2016 pick is indebted to Philly instead (still top 10 protected).

Since you can't trade picks in consecutive years, the pick Miami owes the Suns would then push to 2018 at the earliest (top 7 protected until 2019, when it MUST go to the Suns and is unprotected).

So, root for Miami to have a resurgence! They need to win at least 2 if not all 3 of their remaining games for the right to maybe sniff the playoffs and give away their draft pick to Philly.

Bright Side for the Suns: dem late-20-teens years are going to look yummy in the NBA draft department

Rockets, not Pelicans, likely to pick right after Suns

The Pelicans owe the Rockets their first round pick in 2015 thanks to the Omer Asik trade. Luckily this time, the Rox will be picking behind the Suns so they can't take a coveted player like Jeremy Lamb away from the Suns, who was a key piece in the Harden trade. (in retrospect, would Lamb have been any better than Kendall Marshall?)

Asik has been good for them, but as a one-year rental you have to wonder if he was worth giving up a mid-first draft pick? He's averaged 7 points and 10 rebounds per game, but his defensive rating has been awful (like really really awful) and his 9.1 PER is putrid.

Sure he may help them make the playoffs, but as an unrestricted free agent this summer that first round pick was a big cost.

The Bright Side for the Suns: the Pellies lose their draft pick and maybe their starting center this summer, while having only 6 players under contract next year for $56 of the $65 million cap.

OKC keeps their pick

The Thunder got Dion Waiters this year in exchange for a first round pick that ultimately goes to Philly, but is protected enough this year for the Thunder to keep it. They send it to Philly, though, as long as they make the playoffs again in 2016 or 2017. OKC then eventually sends a first round pick to Utah for Enes Kanter (lotto protected) two years after sending one to Philly.

Bright Side for the Suns: OKC has to deal with Dion Waiters now, and they might lost Kanter this summer. That's only a marginal win, and might not even get them the playoffs this year. Waiters has shot 39% from the field, producing 12 points in 30 minutes of court time a game. Kanter has been a statistical machine, but he's terrible defensively and has already made OKC fans wonder if they should re-sign him to be money.

Utah trucking along

The Jazz don't owe anything, so they'll likely pick 12th this year. They don't get anyone else's picks until at least 2017, and those are Golden State and OKC's likely late picks. Hope that core is good enough to build on.

Bright Side for the Suns: Sure, Rudy Gobert, Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors have looked good this second half and look like a foundation to build upon, but your awful Phoenix Suns beat them without Alex Len or Brandon Knight (or Goran Dragic or Isaiah Thomas) last week. It was the Suns only win in their last 9 games. So maybe that future isn't THAT bright for Utah?

Sixers all about those picks

The Sixers are putting all their chips into the draft bag.

Not only do they have their own top picks, they now have the Lakers pick, likeliest a lottery pick in 2016 but possible this year as a 6 or 7 pick, plus Miami's eventual mid-first, plus OKC's eventual late-first and about a billion variously protected mid-second round picks. I've never been a fan of hoarding, or even using, second round picks but if there's a gem to be found from a playoff team's second rounder then the Sixers have a good chance of finding him.


Cross your fingers that the Brandon Knight trade doesn't blow up in the Suns faces. We should know by mid-May (the lottery) and then mid-July (Knight's free agency) if it was the worst trade in Suns history.

If Knight becomes a very good player (say, 18 and 5 for years to come) and the Laker pick is no better than #11 or so in 2016, then we can shrug it off. Anything short of that and the hand wringing will pervade Suns fans for years and years.

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