I've threatened this for awhile but it's finally happened. I'm actually writing a column for Bright Side of the Sun -- why isn't it Suns by the way? So before we get into it, I just wanted to say thank you for having me and for the support and crap you've all given me over the years.
Now that the pleasantries are out of the way, let's tap into our inner Darth Vader -- there's no muse cages here because, screw the Lakers -- and accept the fact that we may be spending more time on the dark side after Tuesday than the light.
Yep, I'm talking about the culmination of the NBA’s annual game of Russian roulette where teams lose on purpose and hope that it doesn't mortally wound them in the process. The scariest part? The moment that will likely define the next decade for the Phoenix Suns as a franchise comes down to, at best, dumb luck, and at worst, forces that won't be in their favor.
Lady Luck hasn't been one that has looked good in purple and orange. Purple and gold? Sure, numerous times. Blue and orange, yep, that one time with a frozen envelope. But purple and orange? Nope, not even once since that fateful coin toss that sent Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, then Lew Alcindor, to Milwaukee and despair to Phoenix on a one-way ticket.
“But Espo,” you say. “What about if the Lottery is rigged like everyone says it is? Then luck won't come into play at all.”
This is true but that may be an even darker path than the previous one we were on. Sure, David Stern no longer reigns over the NBA and that's probably a good thing for the Phoenix faithful but that doesn't mean the new commissioner, Adam Silver, is likely to help them either.
“We are gonna have to react and change incentives a bit. I do think it’s frustrating,” said Silver in an interview with ESPN’s Mike & Mike about teams tanking. “I was talking to my European soccer men a few minutes ago, I’m not saying we are gonna do it in the NBA, but they have the best incentives of all because teams actually get relegated from the league. Think of the consequences there, they lose their television money, they lose their big ticket revenue by not playing the top teams. So teams have every incentive not to fall to the bottom.”
Translation, if the lottery were rigged it most certainly wouldn't be rigged for a team who sat out two-fifths of its starting lineup for most of the second half of the season and lost 14 of their final 16 games.
If you'd like, throw on your limited edition Mel Gibson signature tinfoil hat for a second and let's go further down the shady conspiracy path. If there were a team the lottery would likely be rigged for it’d be the Lakers. A group who lost “the right way” even winning games down the stretch that helped the Suns finish with the second worst record despite LA losing their pick to the 76ers of the fall out of the Top 3 in Tuesday's lottery. Crazy, right?
Yep, until you realize head coach Luke Walton said new Lakers executive Magic Johnson had some good news for the team.
"Magic's already ensured me that we're going to get our top three pick this year so I'm excited about that," Walton said with a straight face.
It was probably said in jest but even that 1% chance it wasn't is enough to make you pause as a Suns fan and then shudder in disgust.
If you're sitting there shaking your head doing your best Peter Venkman impression I can appreciate your skepticism. I for one, however, subscribe to the old adage, “hope for the best, prepare for the worst and be unsurprised by anything in between.”
There's a good chance, 44.2% to be exact, that Tuesday ends poorly for the Suns with a pick outside the top 3. So get your good luck charms together, let's say a few kind words and give a drink to JoBu and hope that for once things work out in the Suns favor.
Anything's possible. Heck, even I said I wouldn't write for Dave King unless hell froze over and here I am anyways.
Oh, and if things don't go our way, Dave and I will be hosting a group therapy session on the Solar Panel immediately after the NBA Draft Lottery.
Suns officially have 44.2% chance to drop out of Top 3. What do YOU think the real chances are?
This poll is closed
10% - Our luck is turning!
44.2% - I’m very literal
Oh, 100% it’s gonna happen