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Center of the Sun: Phoenix Suns prepare for the draft... and summer vacation

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The Suns' season may be over but there are still things to look forward to

Original photos by Mark J. Rebilas & Jerry Lai - USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

Game Recaps

vs Golden State Warriors L (120-111) Full Recap

vs Oklahoma City Thunder W (120-99) Full Recap

vs Dallas Mavericks W (124-111) Full Recap

@ Sacramento Kings L (129-104) Full Recap

The season is over for the Suns and once again fans have only the lottery and the draft left to look forward to while fans of many other teams get at least four more playoff games to watch. But at least the Suns have the #2 spot in the pre-lottery draft order sewn up and can't fall any further than 5th in the final draft order after the lottery takes place on May 16th.

I will - as always - get excited shortly before the lottery drawing and let my hopes get up way too high that maybe, just maybe this will be the year that the Suns finally get lucky and get that #1 pick. It's never happened before but that's never stopped me from getting my hopes up in the past and I'm sure the same thing will happen again this year.

Unlike a lot of fans, I don't have any favorite player that I want the Suns to draft. I hope that the Suns get the #1 pick so that they will be able to draft anyone that they want without the possibility that some other team grabs that player before them. I'll leave selecting that player up to McD and his staff who actually get paid to make those decisions.

But before the lottery occurs, the NBA Draft Combine will be held in Chicago from May 9 to 14. The on-court elements of the combine will take place on May 11 and 12. It's very possible - perhaps even likely - that the players that the Suns will consider using their 1st round pick on won't participate in the combine but there should be plenty of players there that they could be looking at to use their two 2nd round picks to draft... and maybe a player or two that will go undrafted that they might want to invite to the Summer League Suns team.

The Summer Leagues run from July 1 through July 17. One or two of those invitees could very well wind up being offered one of the new two-way contracts.

One of the interesting rule changes that will begin next season is that team rosters will be expanded from 15 to 17 with the addition of the new two-way contracts. These contracts basically allow parent teams to add players to their D-league affiliates that can't be poached by other teams and they can call up these players at any time without having to resort to the old 10-day contract rules. And the salaries that these two-way contract players get do not count as part of the team salary or against the salary cap. The base salary for someone on one of these contracts ($75K) is far below the normal league minimum but still well above normal D-league salaries. There are a lot of rules about these new contracts that you can read about in this Hoops Rumors article if you want to.

So although the season is over for the Suns there are still many things to look forward to and discuss as we move on into summer.

Key Stat

19.9%, 18.8%, 17.1%, 31.9%, 12.4%

These are the Suns' lottery odds on getting the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th pick in this year's draft. They have a 38.7% chance of staying in the top 2. That means there is a 61.3% chance of them falling out of the top 2. But they cannot fall any further than the 5th pick no matter how the lottery balls bounce.

Quotes of the Week

“If I’m the only young guy out there with four veterans, those four can kind of direct traffic and help cover for me when I mess up. But when it’s a situation where everybody on the floor is, at most, 3 or 4 years into their career, that’s kind of tough, because then we’re all kind of lost, and still learning how to communicate with each other as players.” - Marquese Chriss to fivethirtyeight.com

Rookie Report

Marquese Chriss - 24.0 mpg, 10.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.0 spg, 1.0 bpg

Tyler Ulis - 36.1 mpg, 19.8 ppg, 6.8 apg, 2.8 rpg, 0.8 spg, 2.8 TOpg

Derrick Jones Jr. - 25.9 mpg, 11.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.0 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.3 bpg

Dragan Bender - 19.5 mpg, 4.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.5 apg, 0.3 spg, 0.5 bpg

All stats courtesy of NBA.com

Some of Airplane Mode and MC Slammer's greatest hits

Pre-Lottery Draft Order

1. Boston Celtics (from Brooklyn via pick swap)

2. Phoenix Suns

3. LA Lakers (goes to 76ers if not in top 3)

4. Philadelphia 76ers (have the right to swap picks with Kings)

5. Orlando Magic

6/7. New York Knicks (tied w/Minn.)

6/7. Minnesota Timberwolves (tied w/NY)

8. Sacramento Kings

9. Dallas Mavericks

10. New Orleans (goes to Kings if not in top 3)

11. Charlotte Hornets

12. Detroit Pistons

13. Denver Nuggets

14. Miami Heat

The Minnesota Timberwolves and the New York Knicks tied for the sixth worst record. The average of the 6th and 7th positions in the lottery results in each team getting 53 combinations (the average of 63 and 43). A coin flip is used to determine who receives the earlier pick in the event that neither of the tied teams wins one of the first three picks via the lottery.

In the extremely unlikely event that three teams, including New Orleans, that are presently behind Sacramento in the pre-lottery draft order all jump ahead of them into the top three draft positions, New Orleans would retain their pick and the Kings own pick would drop out of the top 10 in which case it would go to Chicago leaving the Kings with no 1st round picks in this year's draft.

News & Notes

Suns GM Ryan McDonough: Keep building through draft. Doug Haller/AZCentral Sports

Suns Have A Young Core, But Have Decisions To Make. Sir Charles In Charge

2017 NBA Offseason Preview: Phoenix Suns. Real GM.com

Suns’ Tyler Ulis’ breakout rookie season showcases NBA’s latest second-round steal. Kellan Olson/Arizona Sports

Ten Best Suns Triple-Doubles. NBA/Suns.com

Al McCoy, voice of the Phoenix Suns since 1972, is NBA's longest-tenured broadcaster. Newsweek

After terrific start to season, Suns’ T.J. Warren trying yet again to find right role. Kellan Olson/Arizona Sports

The Suns Get Whistled More Than A High School Gym Class. FiveThirtyEight

McDonough: Teams were calling the Suns before Devin Booker was drafted in 2015. Arizona Sports

Phoenix Suns PG Tyler Ulis excels in the NBA classroom. Arizona Sports

Who's the Best Bargain in the NBA? Luke Know & Micah Adams/ESPN

Who Needs a Change of Scenery? Basketball Insiders

Suns Trivia

Devin Booker has scored 2774 total points in the NBA (so far) before his 21st birthday. He has moved past Kobe Bryant into 4th on the list of most points scored by an NBA player before turning 21.

Devin Booker has made a total of 246 regular season three point shots as a Sun. This moved him ahead of former Suns players Charles Barkley and Jeff Hornacek into 18th on the all-time list for Suns players. Next on the list is Jason Kidd (17th) with 283. #1 on the list is Steve Nash with 1051.

Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference and Land of Basketball.com

This Week in Suns History

On April 13, 1996 Phoenix's Charles Barkley was selected to fill one of the final two spots on Dream Team III, the team that competed at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

On April 15, 1989 Phoenix retired the No. 44 jersey of Paul Westphal, who averaged 20.6 ppg in six seasons with the Suns and was a key member of the 1975-76 Sunderella Suns team that played against Boston in the NBA Finals that year. He was named the team's head coach for the 1992-93 season, leading them into the NBA Finals against Chicago.

Previewing the Weeks/Months Ahead

NBA Draft Combine, May 9th - 14th.

Lottery date, May 16th.

Draft date, June 22nd.

Summer League play, July 1st - 17th.

Free Agency begins July 1st.

Last Week's Poll Results

The question was, "How do you feel about the Suns tanking?" The results were:

53% - It's a necessary evil.

38% - I'm all for it.

9% - I hate it.

There were a total of 568 votes cast.

And finally, this week's poll...

Poll

Should the Suns trade Eric Bledsoe if they can draft Ball or Fultz?

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    Yes.
    (259 votes)
  • 12%
    No.
    (57 votes)
  • 28%
    They should draft Josh Jackson and avoid the issue.
    (124 votes)
440 votes total Vote Now