We had quite a spirited debate about the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday’s edition of Burns and Gambo.
It centered around the circumstances Phoenix would be facing if they make the playoffs and if they don’t. I think it’s safe to say the vast majority of us want to see the Suns rewarded for a very good season by playing some postseason basketball. Getting in brings added revenue to the franchise, playoff experience for a young roster and is a good morale boost.
But should the Suns squeak into the playoffs, their chances of winning a series against San Antonio or Oklahoma City are slim to none. They are highly likely to become first-round fodder for a dominant team.
And if they do get in as the eighth seed, they would likely have the 21st pick in the June draft. With the Eastern Conference being so bad, Phoenix would have picks after the 14 non-playoff teams and after six of the Eastern Conference playoff teams. The Suns’ .587 winning percentage is better than all but two Eastern Conference teams.
Should Phoenix miss the playoffs — even with that winning percentage — they would pick ahead of the six teams in the Eastern Conference that have a worse record but made the playoffs. So the Suns would be in the 14th lottery slot.
So make the playoffs and pick 21st or miss them and pick 14th. Call it a silver lining or consolation prize should the Suns fail to get in.
Now how much better of a player do you get at 14 compared to 21? Only time will tell, but you certainly have more options. And don’t forget Phoenix also has Washington’s pick (currently 17) and Indiana’s pick (currently 26th).
In the end, making the playoffs is the preferred outcome. But if the Suns fail to do that, fans will be happy on draft day when that 14th pick comes up.