Suns don't get lucky, but options remain plentiful
MAY 21, 2014 6:26p ET
Tuesday night's karma-balancing variables for the Suns were the Morris twins and the percentage of 1.8.
For the record, that number does not suggest the statistical probability of Markieff or Marcus passing the basketball to anyone not named Morris.
Anyway, with the twins representing the franchise at the NBA Draft Lottery event, the Suns quickly checked in where they expected their league-mandated pick to land. And that landing spot is 14, the slot where Marcus was chosen by the Houston Rockets three years ago, which occurred one notch behind the Suns' selection of Markieff.
The 1.8 -- a combination of Phoenix's .5 percent shot at landing the No. 1 overall pick, .6 percent opportunity for No. 2 and .7 percent chance of getting No. 3 -- didn't pan out.
Panning out did happen in a big way, again, for the Cleveland Cavaliers, whose 1.7 percent dream of landing the first overall selection became reality.
Where does this predictable result leave the Suns?
It still leaves the best team not participating in this year's playoffs with, perhaps, enough draft-related ammunition to move up slightly. However, with most draft sharpies conceding that elite-caliber prospects go six or seven deep this year, a team with a keen eye for talent might be capable of getting a player at 14 who will be as good or better than those who figure to be available between 8 and 13.
So, behind the prevailing struggle to land Joel Embiid or Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker, the draft-lottery extravaganza also provided jockeying fodder in the ramped-up chase for Kevin Love.
While the NBA's best teams were launching their respective conference-finals series, league insiders were revealing that the Minnesota Timberwolves' power forward has unofficially declared his intention to leave the Twin Cities.
He can't do that, contractually, for another year, but the threat/promise of this statistical superstar skipping town seems to have motivated the T-wolves into actually exploring preemptive-strike trade opportunities.
With multiple draft picks, several capable (and inexpensive) players and the ability to generate cap space, the Suns have been carved onto a long list of suitors.
While Suns' fans like to think a package of picks and solid young players seems like a sufficient trade return for Minnesota, sharpies working for other NBA teams believe a successful Suns' bid required landing a draft pick in this season's top three.
The Golden State Warriors, for example, don't have a first-round pick this year, but could combine four-man David Lee and three-man Harrison Barnes with a 2015 pick into a deal for Love.
One league personnel executive told FOXSportsArizona.com that such an offer likely would get a deal done and would be more than the Suns might muster. Another evaluator employed by an NBA team didn't think a Lee-Barnes enticement -- thanks to Lee being owed $30 million over two more years on his current deal -- can fetch Love.
We also should point out that the T-wolves are probably not going to be swayed by the prospect of acquiring expiring contracts, since it's unlikely that marquee free agents will be flocking to Minnesota, no matter how much cap space they accrue.
A seemingly small bit of Love-oriented optimism was generated by the lottery order, which has the Los Angeles Lakers owning the seventh pick and the Boston Celtics sitting at sixth. It has been strongly suggested both historically robust franchises will aim to acquire Love and that the former UCLA star would be interested in either destination.
But without a pick capable of delivering one of the three previously listed rookie hotshots, the odds for Love becoming a Laker or Celtic probably slipped.
If you're looking for a Suns silver lottery lining, there it is.
If you're looking for a dark lottery cloud, please note that Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Dave Griffin, a former front-office employee of the Suns, said the Cavs would consider trading the first overall pick for the right deal.
Having that chip -- and other young (if mismatched) talent -- could bring Love to Cleveland. But would he want to play there? Would having Love on the Cavaliers' front line compel LeBron James to come home?
Even if Love ultimately won't be heading to Phoenix, however, all is not exactly hopeless on the local front.
Based on the draft order revealed Tuesday, the Suns still could find some value at 14, of course. With Alex Len being chosen at No. 5 last year and the double-point-guard alignment (presuming Eric Bledsoe returns) looking quite formidable, Phoenix could be looking for a boost on the wings or at power forward.
It should be noted that general manager Ryan McDonough should not be counted on to be position specific if he really loves a center or PG at 14.
But with a mess of mock-draft lists as our guide, Phoenix is recommended to have interest in the likes of Michigan sophomore wing Nik Stauskas, or UCLA freshman two-guard Zach LaVine or Duke small forward Rodney Hood.
If he's available at 14, LaVine certainly could have more physical potential than anyone on the board. He also is pretty similar to current Suns youngster Archie Goodwin. That might mean very little.
Stauskas, who proved he's much more than a catch-and-shoot monster while becoming the Big Ten Player of the Year, would seem to fit what the Suns like to do on offense.
Another player frequently referred to as a dandy fit for the Phoenix system is Michigan State four-man Adreian Payne. Mock targeted with the Suns' pick at 18, pre-draft workouts could alter his popularity.
Up-close reviews of Kentucky freshman winger James Young also could propel the talented lefty's status up or down the first-round ladder.