We are just a few weeks before the 2013-2014 regular season comes to an end, and the Suns are holding on by their fingernails to their playoff hopes. Both long-time and bandwagon fans likely have mixed feelings about whether the team sneaks into the last playoff berth or falls short.
Qualifying for the playoffs would be a coup, with the team far exceeding expectations and developing a nucleus that bodes well for the seasons to come, especially as teams like the Lakers are in disarray and the Spurs are getting very long in the tooth (old). On the other hand, missing the playoffs would make the Suns part of the lottery for this year’s draft and if you are not yet excited about the talent that is entering the draft, you will be as March Madness unfolds.
Back on October 31, 2013, I wrote the blog entitled “Hey Suns’ Fans! It’s not too early to root for the Wizards, Pacers and Timberwolves.” I detailed how the Suns draft picks can shake out for this year’s draft, with the Suns having the potential of holding four first round picks. So far, almost all the pieces are fitting together perfectly.
The Suns needed the Wizards to finish in the playoffs or be one of the last two teams not to make the playoffs. Done. The Wizards are nearly a lock to make the playoffs in the challenged Eastern Conference. That pick would presently be #16 overall in the draft.
The Suns needed the Pacers to qualify for the playoffs in order to hold the Pacers’ first round pick in this year’s draft. Done. That pick will likely be somewhere between #25 and #30 in the first round.
The Suns of course also retain their own pick. Presently, the Suns are not in the playoffs and that pick would be #14 in the draft. While the odds would be slight (less than 2%), the Suns would be in the running for the top overall pick under the lottery system.
The last potential pick for the Suns in the 2014 draft comes from the Timberwolves. If the season ended today, that pick would be in the lottery and likely #13 overall and would stay with Minnesota. However, if the Timberwolves leapfrog the Suns, Dallas or Memphis during their remaining 18 games of the season, the pick transfers to the Suns. It would be a lottery pick and no worse than #14 overall. If the Timberwolves somehow jump over two teams and make the playoffs, that pick would likely be around #20 overall.
So as of today, the Suns likely have three first round picks (#14, #16 and somewhere between #25 and #30). If Minnesota gets hot, the Suns would add another mid-first round selection in one of the deepest and most exciting draft classes in a generation.
Aside from how the Suns finish the season, all eyes in Phoenix should be on the Minnesota Timberwolves. We should be rooting them on to victory. You might ask, “What’s love got to do with it?” Well, a lot.