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NBA Draft Lottery: Suns’ Lon Babby armed with good luck charm

Thus far, it has been a year of change for the Phoenix Suns.

There’s a new general manager. There soon will be a new head coach. And on Tuesday, there will be a
new Suns representative in the 2013 NBA Draft Lottery.

Lon Babby, president of basketball operations, will be the one on stage at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn when the Suns learn their fate.

Mark West, vice president of player programs, had represented the team in each of the past two years. His presence, however, proved unsuccessful as the club maintained its No. 13 position in the lottery in both 2011 and 2012.

“I would’ve sent (Mercury general manager and head coach) Corey (Gaines) except that the Mercury are too heavily involved in their season,” Babby said.

Gaines was the Mercury’s good luck charm when they won the WNBA draft lottery and earned the right to choose Brittney Griner out of Baylor University.

With Gaines unavailable, Babby is turning to Plan B.

“My grandson (Josh) is playing on a T-Ball team at age 4 so he’s got a little baseball card. I got him to sign it for me so he wrote his name on it. I’ll have it in my pocket,” Babby said.

“I don’t know if he’s good luck, but I always like having his picture with me, anyway. That will be my good luck charm.”

So, no personal superstitions?

“I didn’t say that. Everybody is superstitious,” he said. “I used to have a lucky pair of pants that I wore for every exam in college. The trouble is they don’t fit anymore.

“The other thing is,” Babby continued, “I’m going to stay as close as I can to (Orlando Magic senior vice president) Pat Williams because he’s won it four times (with the Philadelphia 76ers in 1986 and the Magic in 1992, 1994 and 2004). I’m going to see if I can touch him a couple of times just to get some good luck.”

The Suns have the fourth-best odds, an 11.9 percent chance of securing the top overall pick. Their odds of moving into the top three is 37.8 percent; being in the top five, 82.8 percent.

The Suns can fall no lower than the No. 7 selection.

“I don’t like any part of this because there’s no preparation for this. This is just pure luck,” said Babby, who will be joined in New York by team president Jason Rowley. “There’s not much you can do to be successful in this. We just hope for the best. Keep my fingers crossed, keep my toes crossed and have my hand on my grandson’s picture, maybe that will help.”