With the NBA season winding down, we’ve reached the point where it’s time to pay closer attention to the standings. For most teams, this means following the playoff race. In the case of the Phoenix Suns, it’s the opposite.
It’s the debut of the NBA Draft Lottery Watch! As we hit the last week of February, the Suns are in a group of five teams with a legitimate shot at having the worst record in the NBA. Not only do you improve your chances at gaining the number-one pick in the 2016 draft with a worse record, but you limit how far down you can fall.
The team with the worst record can’t go below fourth, the team with the second worst record can’t go below fifth, third worst can drop all the way to six, fourth worst can fall to seventh and fifth worst can sink to eighth.
Let the games begin.
1. Philadelphia 76ers 8-47
Last week: 0-2 with losses to the Pelicans and Mavericks.
The 76ers had three straight losses by less than seven points, but they were blown out by Dallas Sunday night, 129-103.
Rookie center Jahlil Okafor went off for a career-high 31 points versus the Mavs, but was also a team-worst minus-29. Okafor is a tanking gift.
This week: Four games — Tuesday vs. Magic, Wednesday at Pistons, Friday vs. Wizards, Sunday at Magic
2. Los Angeles Lakers 11-46
Last week: 0-2 with losses to the Spurs and Bulls.
Head coach Byron Scott finally came to his senses and re-insterted rookie guard D’Angelo Russell into the starting lineup during their loss to Chicago Sunday night.
This week: Three games — Monday at Bucks, Wednesday at Grizzlies, Friday vs. Grizzlies
The Kobe Bryant farewell tour continues!
3. Phoenix Suns 14-42
Last week: 0-2 with losses to the Rockets and Spurs
An ugly loss to Houston Friday was followed by a gritty effort in another loss to San Antonio Sunday. The Spurs loss featured an encouraging effort from Alex Len after returning from a one-game absence due to an ankle injury. Phil Pressey had some good moments in his first game on a 10-day contract.
This week: Three games — Monday at Clippers, Thursday vs. Nets, Saturday vs. Grizzlies
Thursday’s game against Brooklyn is a big one.
4. Brooklyn Nets 15-41
Last week: 1-1 with a win against the Knicks and a loss to the Hornets
Reminder, this pick is actually going to the Celtics via the Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett trade. Brooklyn is the one team in this mix that has no incentive to lose. They released Andrea Bargnani, which helps them not be as terrible.
This week: Three games — Tuesday at Blazers, Thursday at Suns, Saturday at Jazz
Brooklyn is starting out on a nine-game road trip Tuesday because of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus at Barclays Center.
5. Minnesota Timberwolves 17-39
Last week: 0-2 with losses to the Grizzlies and Knicks
A team being held back by a coach and inexperience. If all goes well this is going to be their last season towards the bottom of the league as Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins continue to develop.
This week: Four games — Monday vs. Celtics, Wednesday at Raptors, Saturday at Pelicans, Sunday at Mavericks
Minnesota winning one of these games would be surprising.
- Suns’ losing streak now up to 10 games after loss in Cleveland
- Bagley or Ayton? ASU’s Bobby Hurley gives his take on future draft picks
- Woj: Suns coaching search is underway, will include Triano
- NBA Draft Lottery odds tracker: Suns sniffing three first-round picks
- NBA Draft stock report: Many exits for top prospects in NCAA Tournament