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Here’s how the Suns could get three first-round draft picks

Phoenix Suns forward Josh Jackson, left, is defended by Milwaukee Bucks guard Tony Snell, right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 22, 2018, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Darren Hauck)

Already with the best odds at landing the No. 1 NBA Draft pick, the Phoenix Suns could earn up to two more top-16 selections.

The Heat’s pick from the Goran Dragic deal three years ago is top-7 protected but will convey to Phoenix after Miami clinched a playoff berth.

The Milwaukee Bucks’ first-round pick acquired in the Eric Bledsoe trade this season, however, hangs in the balance.

At this rate, the Bucks can earn the 15th, 16th or 17th spot in the draft.

The protections on the Milwaukee pick have it conveying to the Suns if it lands from 11th through 16th, so the Suns hope the Bucks earn a 15th or 16th pick (assuming they don’t want it to roll over to next year, when it conveys if it lands from fourth through 16th).

How could the Suns earn the Bucks’ first-round pick this year?

Let’s take a look.

Reverse standings

Draft position (non-lottery) Team Record
T-15 Washington Wizards 43-38

Phoenix Suns (via Heat)


Milwaukee Bucks


Playoff seeding doesn’t matter

Currently, Milwaukee, Miami and the Washington Wizards are all fighting for the final three playoffs spots in the Eastern Conference.

They are also the three teams in contention to draft 15th through 17th.

From Phoenix’s perspective, don’t worry about playoff tiebreakers and head-to-head records if this ends up as a three-way or two-way tie. The final playoff seedings are chosen in a different way than the draft order.

Instead, tiebreakers for the draft will essentially be decided by random, equal odds — a coin-flip or toss of a three-sided dice — if it comes to that.

However, the Suns do need to hope that the Bucks’ record matches the Heat’s and/or Wizards’ record.

Remaining games

Miami Heat: Wednesday vs. Toronto Raptors (5 p.m.)

Milwaukee Bucks: Wednesday at Philadelphia 76ers (5 p.m.)

Washington Wizards: Wednesday at Orlando Magic (5 p.m.)

What needs to happen for the Suns to get the Bucks’ pick

For the Suns to earn the pick, one thing must first happen before we go any further.

1. The Bucks lose to the red-hot Sixers on Wednesday.

Context: The Sixers have won a franchise-best 15 games in a row and as of Wednesday morning are seeded third but just one game ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

From there, the next two things must occur:

2A. The Heat beat the Raptors on Wednesday.

Context: Toronto has secured to No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Do the Raptors rest?

2B. The Wizards beat the Orlando Magic.

Context: Washington had lost four in a row and was 2-8 in its last 10 games, but on Tuesday they beat a Celtics team that had the second seed locked down. They face the 24-57 Magic have lost three in a row.

3. The Suns get a favorable roll when tiebreakers take place on April 13. The Bucks earn the 15th or 16th pick over 17th, thus losing the selection.


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