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Phoenix Suns: 2019 NBA Draft Lottery odds

One year after winning their first ever No. 1 overall pick, will the Phoenix Suns strike gold once again in the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery? Here are their odds.

Last summer, the Phoenix Suns faced their biggest offseason in franchise history and got things started right by earning the No. 1 overall pick. This summer, in yet another “biggest offseason in franchise history” kind of offseason, the Suns will be hoping for another visit from Lady Luck to bail themselves out of their current predicament.

One year after selecting Deandre Ayton first overall (and not Luka Doncic, who is already making that look like a bad decision), the Suns are crossing their fingers they can run it back in the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery to earn the right to select the consensus favorite for the top selection, Duke phenom Zion Williamson.

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Regardless of team fit (which wouldn’t be a concern in Phoenix anyway), Williamson is head-and-shoulders above the rest of this draft class, with franchise-altering potential. His insane athleticism, elite playmaking on both ends and sky-high marketability make him a no-brainer selection if the Suns somehow win the No. 1 pick in back-to-back years.

Thanks to a lost tiebreaker with the Cleveland Cavaliers, who also finished the 2018-19 campaign with a 19-63 record, Phoenix enters the draft lottery slated in the No. 3 spot. However, that may not hurt as much during this first year implementing the new draft lottery reform, which gives the three worst teams the same odds of selecting at picks No. 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Phoenix is guaranteed a top-seven pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, so where the tiebreaker could come back to sting is if the team falls to fifth, sixth or seventh in the pecking order. Here’s a breakdown of the Suns’ odds of landing each pick:

  • 1st: 14.0%
  • 2nd: 13.4%
  • 3rd: 12.7%
  • 4th: 12.0%
  • 5th: 14.8%
  • 6th: 26.0%
  • 7th: 7.0%

The Suns, Cavs and New York Knicks have the same 14 percent odds of basically winning the rights to Zion Williamson. They also share 13.4 percent odds of selecting second overall, 12.7 percent odds of choosing third and 12.0 percent odds of falling to fourth.

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However, the Knicks are guaranteed a top-four pick, and the Cavs are guaranteed a top-five pick courtesy of the tiebreaker, so the Suns’ most likely odds on an individual basis would be falling to No. 6.

For a team without an established point guard and plenty of young talent in desperate need of development, the Suns should think long and hard about trading their pick if they fall to No. 3 or worse. One could even make the case they should think about trading the No. 2 pick (most likely Ja Morant) if they can get their hands on someone like Mike Conley or Jrue Holiday later this summer.

In any case, Williamson is the top prize, and pairing him with Ayton and Devin Booker would be a dream scenario that might finally ignite this never-ending rebuild. Zion would join Ayton as the only No. 1 draft picks in franchise history and that trio could finally end the ongoing nine-year playoff drought.

The Suns have only selected second overall twice, taking Armen Gilliam in 1987 and Neal Walk in 1969, when they infamously lost a coin flip to the Milwaukee Bucks that would’ve given them Kareem Abdul Jabbar at No. 1.

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Oddly enough, the Suns have never selected third overall, so if they leave the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery with the pick corresponding to their lottery position, it’ll be a first for the franchise.

Phoenix is no stranger to the fourth overall pick though, taking Josh Jackson (2017), Dragan Bender (2016), Alvan Adams (1975), John Shumate (1974) and Corky Calhoun (1972) over the years. At No. 5, the Suns have taken one relative dud (Alex Len in 2013) and one Ring of Honor member (Walter Davis in 1977).

The team chose William Bedford sixth overall in 1986, and has only selected at No. 7 twice: Tim Perry in 1988, and Luol Deng in 2004, when Phoenix traded the future All-Star for Jackson Vroman, cash and a 2005 first round pick that became Nate Robinson. However, the Suns then traded Robinson in the draft he was selected (along with Quentin Richardson) for Kurt Thomas and the rights to Dijon Thompson.

With a 40.1 percent chance of a top-three pick and 26 percent odds of falling all the way to No. 6, it’ll take an unfamiliar stroke of luck to nab the Phoenix Suns the Zion Williamson they need to finally get this rebuild off the ground.

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