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Bucks lose drawing; Suns won’t get No. 17 overall pick in NBA Draft

Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough does an interview with The Doug & Wolf Show on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. (Matt Layman/Arizona Sports)

It’s been almost 50 years, and the Phoenix Suns still can’t best the Milwaukee Bucks in a random drawing.

In 1969, the Bucks won the coin toss and the rights to draft Lew Alcindor, who would later change his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and become the leading scorer in NBA history.

On Friday, a random drawing determined the Bucks would be picking No. 17 overall.

That pick, part of the Eric Bledsoe trade, was protected between picks 1-10 and 17-30. If it fell between 11-16, the Suns would receive it.

Instead, the pick will stay in Milwaukee. It will now convey to the Suns in 2019, protected in the top-3 and from No. 17-30.

If the pick fails to fall within those parameters, it will become top-7 protected in 2020.

Finally, if the Bucks manage to hold onto it for a third year in a row, the Suns will receive it unconditionally in 2021.

At season’s end, the Bucks and Miami Heat were tied with a 44-38 record. The league conducted the drawing to decide which pick would be No. 16 and which would be No. 17.

Phoenix owns the Miami pick from the Goran Dragic trade in 2015.

With Miami winning the drawing, this pick will convey to the Suns at No. 16. Phoenix will now have two draft picks: No. 16, and somewhere within the top-4, depending on their placement in the NBA Draft Lottery on May 15.

They have a 25 percent chance to receive the No. 1 pick overall, the best odds in the league.

Suns general manager Ryan McDonough has implied he would be open to making trades to shorten the timeline. During the exit interviews, he talked about his desire to bring in veterans.

“We won’t be as young, we won’t have nearly as many young players as we did this year,” he said. “We’ll have more experience, we’ll have more veterans.”

However, there have been a handful of players selected in the middle of the first round in recent years that have found success in the NBA.

In 2013, Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks was picked No. 15 and Dennis Schroeder of the Hawks at No. 17.

The next year, Jusuf Nurkic went No. 16 and Gary Harris at No. 19. Both were traded to the Nuggets.

Devin Booker was selected at No. 13 overall in 2015, and Terry Rozier, a rising player with the Celtics, picked No. 16.

In fact, one of this year’s Rookie of the Year candidates was picked in the late lottery – Donovan Mitchell fell to the Jazz at No. 13.

Without the Bucks’ draft pick, it may be more difficult for the Suns to find a trade or rookie that will fit into their plans. However, this pick – now part of the 2019 draft – can still be used in a trade.

The Suns have several routes they can explore. They now have the clarity to make moves toward action.

Here are their picks in the upcoming draft:

1. Phoenix Suns – Odds of No. 1: 25 percent. Odds of No. 2: 21.5 percent. Odds of No. 3: 17.7 percent. Odds of No. 4: 35.8 percent.

16. Phoenix Suns (via Miami Heat)

31. Phoenix Suns

59. Phoenix Suns (via Toronto Raptors)


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