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Suns big summer hinges on coin flip before lotto balls

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It’s not enough the Suns have to rely on pesky lottery balls. Now they have to worry about a coin flip too.

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns have already committed themselves to the fate of ping pong balls for the eighth consecutive year. This time at least they have the best odds of having the best pick at the end of that bouncy process.

But that’s not enough for the Suns. Oh no, that’s not enough.

The Milwaukee Bucks first round pick — the one owed to the Suns for Eric Bledsoe — now hinges on a coin flip on Friday. Heads, it comes to the Suns this year. Tails, it gets pushed off to next year at the earliest.

Oh, Suns.

Had to be a coin flip, huh?

When the Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks ended the season with the same record (44-38), an NBA rule says they need to flip a coin to determine draft position. Literally, grab a coin and flip it. The Bucks need to win the coin flip to keep their pick this year.

Side note: round of derisive applause, please, because this is all thanks to the complete disaster that is the Washington Wizards. If the Wizards had simply limped into the end of the season, the Suns would cleanly have Bucks pick in hand because the Wizards had that 6th seed (17th overall draft pick in reverse standings) all sewn up. But nay, the Wizards lost 14 of their last 21 games to finish 43-39 and drop to the eighth seed.

What does this mean to the Suns?

Simple:

  • The Suns definitely get Miami’s pick (for Goran Dragic) no matter what happens, because it was only protected Top-7 and the Heat are not in the lottery. That pick will either be #16 or #17 overall, depending on this coin flip.
  • If Miami “wins” the coin flip, the pick the Suns get from Miami is the #17 overall pick, AND the Suns also get the Bucks’ pick because it becomes 16th overall.
  • If Miami “loses” the coin flip, the pick the Suns get from Miami is the #16 overall pick, but that’s it. The Bucks would get to KEEP their own #17 overall pick because it’s within their protection (the pick was protected 1-10 and 17-30). The Bucks pick would then roll over to the 2019 or 2020 draft.

Here we go, Suns fans!

The first “luck” part of the 2018 Suns offseason officially occurs on Friday.

Do the Suns even WANT a third first round pick?

Let’s make one thing clear: the Suns already have eight 22-or-younger players on the roster. They don’t need or want 5 more (including the two second-round picks) on their roster next season.

But they should want this Milwaukee pick anyway for the following reasons:

  1. This year’s draft is better than 2019. So the #17 pick this year is a better value than what is most likely the #15 or #16 pick next year or the year after.
  2. The #17 pick this year is better than a pick in the 20s in 2020. The unique late protection drops off in 2020. That year, the Suns get the pick as long as it’s after #7 overall. But what if the Bucks are good? That pick could be a late first rounder by then.
  3. Trade value. When negotiating trades, it makes sense that a sure-fire #17 pick in 2018 has more trade value than “mid-first in 2019 or mid-to-late-first in 2020”.
  4. Free agency sucks. If the Suns want to improve the team with some good veterans, it’s better to use a a good draft pick to acquire a player already under contract than to sign someone in free agency. The truly good veterans always get overpaid on the open market.

Poll

Will the Heat/Suns win the coin flip?

This poll is closed

  • 61%
    Yes
    (693 votes)
  • 38%
    No
    (441 votes)
1134 votes total Vote Now