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Center of the Sun: Will the Phoenix Suns beat the odds and have some lottery luck for a change?

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It's been a very long time since the Suns actually moved up in the lottery

NHL Holds News Conference And Draft Pick Lottery Photo by Andy Marlin/Getty Images for NHLI

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

Almost everyone is excited about the upcoming draft. If there was no lottery, the Suns would have the second pick in this year's draft but the lottery could change the Suns' draft position and it might not be for the better. We will all hope for the best but historically the Suns haven't had very good luck in the lottery.

You have to go way back to the 1987 NBA lottery to find an example of the Suns actually moving up. That year the Suns jumped from 7th to 2nd in the draft order. But back then there were only seven lottery teams and the odds were even for all teams, not weighted the way they are now. Since the NBA lottery began in 1985, the Suns have wound up in it a total of fourteen times, including this year, and moved up only twice (1986 & 1987). On every other occasion they either stayed at the same position or moved down.

I know that the the lottery is weighted and mathematically the odds are better the higher that a team finishes in the reverse standings but in the last 20 years no team that finished second in the reverse standings has moved up to get the first pick in the draft. And only three times did that team even keep their #2 spot. Five times the #2 team dropped to the 3rd spot, nine times they dropped to the #4 spot and three times they dropped all the way to 5th. Add that all up and it shows that in the last 20 years the #2 team going into the lottery came out of it drafting 3rd or lower 85% of the time and 4th or lower 60% of the time. Whatever the official lottery odds indicate, the history of teams finishing 2nd in the pre-lottery draft order isn't encouraging.

19.9%, 18.8%, 17.1%, 31.9% and 12.4%.

Those are the official odds for the Suns getting the 1st-5th picks in the lottery drawing. That 31.9% chance of getting the 4th pick really jumps out at me and the combined 44.3% chance of getting the 4th or 5th pick doesn't set me at ease either. Add in the odds of falling to 3rd and the Suns have a 61.4% chance of getting a pick below the 2nd spot in the draft this year.

None of this is really reassuring but it isn’t meant to be. These are just facts.

So what happens if the Suns' "luck" in the lottery turns out bad and instead of drafting first or second they drop to third, fourth or - God forbid! - fifth? As much as we all probably hate to think about it, drafting Fultz, Ball or Jackson might not even be an option for the Suns this year. And if both Fultz and Ball are off the board by time the Suns draft, all the talk about whether the Suns should trade Eric Bledsoe probably becomes irrelevant. There are other quality point guards in this year's draft (Fox, Smith, Ntilkina) but if the worst case in the lottery comes to be, I wonder how many people would still want to trade Bledsoe and draft one of them? More importantly, would Ryan McDonough consider it?

I think not. I think he might even consider trading down if the right offer came along. What that offer might be, I have no idea but it's a possibility. To Suns fans it would be something of a disaster if the pick in this year's draft falls to 4th or 5th but teams drafting later might see that pick as potential gold for them and make trade offers... perhaps very good trade offers from the Suns’ point of view.

Keep your fingers crossed on lottery day, Suns fans. It's been 30 years since the Suns have had good luck in it. Hopefully that will change on May 16.

Historical lottery info courtesy of Real GM.

2016-17 Season Highlights

Devin Booker's 70 point night vs Boston.

Eric Bledsoe's triple-double vs the Lakers

And most importantly...

Quote of the Week

"Next year, we expect to win significantly more than that [23 games in 2015-16 and 24 this season]. So how long does it take? That's a good question. I don't know. This is a multi-year process. However, if we are good over the couple of years I think we will be good for 10 years after that, because usually you win with guys in their late 20s to early 30s, and in a few years the core of our team will still be in their mid-20s and have a lot of talent, and I think a lot of depth." - Ryan McDonough (Fanrag Sports)

The Full 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. Minnesota Timberwolves (won tiebreaker vs NY)

7. New York Knicks (lost tiebreaker vs Minn.)

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

15. Portland Trail Blazers

16. Chicago Bulls

17. Milwaukee Bucks

18. Indiana Pacers

19. Atlanta Hawks

20. Portland Trail Blazers (via Grizzlies)

21. Oklahoma City Thunder

22. Brooklyn Nets (via Wizards)

23. Toronto Raptors (via Clippers)

24. Utah Jazz

25. Orlando Magic (via Raptors)

26. Portland Trail Blazers (via Cavaliers)

27. Brooklyn Nets (via Celtics)

28. Los Angeles Lakers (via Rockets)

29. San Antonio Spurs

30. Utah Jazz (via Warriors)

Other tiebreakers determined:

The Portland Trail Blazers will pick 15th, with the Chicago Bulls at 16.

The Milwaukee Bucks will draft at 17, with the Indiana Pacers slotted at 18.

The Atlanta Hawks will pick 19th, with Portland at No. 20.

The Toronto Raptors will draft 23rd, immediately followed by the Utah Jazz, Orlando Magic and the Trail Blazers in the Nos. 24-26 spots.

Tiebreaker info courtesy of ESPN.

News & Notes

The new face of the Phoenix Suns? Devin Booker says, ‘I feel I’m built for it’. Arizona Sports

Former top-5 pick Alex Len failed to do himself any favors in crucial contract year. Kellan Olson/Arizona Sports

Suns believe playoffs just around the corner. Fanrag Sports

Summer agenda: Nets, Suns have plenty of work ahead. The Vertical/Yahoo Sports

2017 Phoenix Suns Mock Draft Tracker. Suns.com

Empire of the Suns offseason lookahead roundtable. Arizona Sports

Will Devin Booker, Eric Bledsoe carry Suns to playoffs? Doug Haller/AZCentral Sports

Suns Are Young — And Fans Have A Lot To Look Forward To. Phil Latzman/KJZZ 91.5

Suns head coach Earl Watson earns high praise after difficult first full season. Arizona Sports

Phoenix Suns 2016-17 season: By the Numbers. Arizona Sports

Suns Trivia

The 2017-18 season will be the Suns' 50th in the NBA.

Marquese Chriss made 72 three-pointers and got 70 blocks this season. With 70 of each, he joins Kristaps Porzingis, Shane Battier, Eddie Griffin and Jerry Stackhouse as the only rookies to ever have at least 70 of each.

After only two years in the NBA Devin Booker has scored 2774 total points and has moved into 48th on the list of all-time leading regular season scorers for the Suns. If he scores at the same pace next season as he did this season (1726 points) he will move past Jason Kidd into the 21st or 22nd spot on the list. (Barring injury or a trade, Eric Bledsoe - presently 26th on the list - should also move ahead of Kidd next season which is why it could be the 21st or 22nd spot on the list for Booker.)

Stats courtesy of ESPN and Land of Basketball.com

This Week in Suns History

On April 25, 1968 the nickname "Suns" was chosen as the name of the Phoenix franchise in a contest sponsored by a local newspaper.

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, "Should the Suns trade Eric Bledsoe if they can draft Ball or Fultz?" The results were:

59% - Yes.

13% - No.

28% - They should draft Josh Jackson and avoid the issue.

There were a total of 440 votes cast.

This week's poll is...

Poll

What do you think will happen in the lottery this year?

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    The Suns will move up to #1.
    (89 votes)
  • 23%
    The Suns will stay at #2.
    (64 votes)
  • 23%
    The Suns will fall to #3.
    (63 votes)
  • 10%
    The Suns will fall to #4.
    (28 votes)
  • 9%
    The Suns will fall to #5.
    (27 votes)
271 votes total Vote Now