NBA Draft Lottery positioning update: Suns closing in on best odds

Apr 2, 2018, 10:09 AM
(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)...
(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

A 15th-straight loss by the Phoenix Suns on Sunday set a franchise record and inched them closer to finishing the 2017-18 season with the best NBA Draft Lottery odds.

Four games remain on Phoenix’s schedule, and injuries to Devin Booker, T.J. Warren, Elfrid Payton and Alex Len have lately limited the tools interim coach Jay Triano has to deploy. As the year’s end draws closer, it’s a wonder if the Suns will be able to turn to any of those players — or if they will be cautious with their futures in mind.

Here’s a look at the final stretch of the NBA season, where Phoenix stands and what the other teams who are looking forward to the draft have on their respective plates to wrap the year.

1. Phoenix Suns

Record: 19-59

Outlook: Holding a 2.5-game lead on the Memphis Grizzlies as of Monday morning, Phoenix has winnable outings against two bottom-feeders, plus a game against the Golden State Warriors, who could presumably shut down all their stars — them taking the second seed in the west looks like the only possible final result. The Suns’ game against the Pelicans this Friday will give them one chance to play spoilers with New Orleans clinging to the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

Games to close the season: Tuesday vs. Sacramento, Friday vs. New Orleans, Sunday vs. Golden State, April 10 at Dallas

2. Memphis Grizzlies

Record: 21-56

Outlook: Did you know the Grizzlies signed MarShon Brooks? That wasn’t a good idea if they wanted to see a tank through. The 29-year-old wrapped his season in China and in his first two games with Memphis scored a combined 45 points and shot 60 percent from the field. One of those games last week led to a wild upset of the Portland Trailblazers. An ankle injury kept Brooks out of the last game, but his potential return would help the Suns.

Games to close the season: Wednesday at New Orleans, Friday vs. Sacramento, Sunday vs. Detroit, April 9 at Minnesota, April 11 at Oklahoma City

3. Atlanta Hawks

Record: 22-55

Outlook: Atlanta faces a series of motivated teams to close out the year. Miami and Washington are fighting with the Milwaukee Bucks for the sixth, seventh and eighth seeds in the Eastern Conference. Boston remains two games back of Toronto for the No. 1 seed out east, so perhaps that game remains meaningful. And the Sixers are currently a half-game back of the Cleveland Cavaliers for the No. 3 seed. The Hawks just beat the Orlando Magic to end a five-game skid, which isn’t saying much.

Games to close the season: Tuesday at Miami, Wednesday vs. Miami, Friday at Washington, Sunday at Boston, April 10 vs. Philadelphia

4. Orlando Magic

Record: 22-54

Outlook: The Magic have lost three games in a row since beating Phoenix on March 24. Those teams were the Nets, Bulls and Hawks, all three of which are looking at high lottery odds. To close the season for Orlando, it’s three games of lottery implications followed by three games against teams potentially fighting for playoff positioning.

Games to close the season: Tuesday at New York, Wednesday vs. Dallas, Friday vs. Charlotte, Sunday at Toronto, April 9 at Milwaukee, April  11 vs. Washington

5. Dallas Mavericks

Record: 23-54

Outlook: Compared to teams like Orlando, Memphis and Phoenix, the low-scoring Mavericks have been a bit more competitive against playoff teams like Minnesota and Cleveland.

Games to close the season: Tuesday vs. Portland, Wednesday at Orlando, Friday at Detroit, Sunday at Philadelphia, April 10 vs. Phoenix

6. Sacramento Kings

Record: 25-53

Outlook: A chance to extend Phoenix’s losing streak on Tuesday could also end a wishful bid for the top odds.

Games to close the season: Tuesday at Phoenix, Friday at Memphis, April 9 at San Antonio, April 11 vs. Houston

Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) shoots against the San Antonio Spurs during the second half of ...
Kellan Olson

Devin Booker leads Suns with season-high 48 points in win vs. Spurs

Phoenix Suns shooting guard Devin Booker was sensational with a season-high 48 points in a win over the San Antonio Spurs.
2 days ago
Cameron Johnson #23 of the Phoenix Suns handles the ball against Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los An...
Arizona Sports

Cam Johnson returning for Phoenix Suns after 3-game absence

Suns forward Cam Johnson is returning Monday night against the San Antonio Spurs after a three-game absence because of a left ankle sprain.
2 days ago
Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns dribbles the ball while being guarded by Justin Holiday #8 of t...
Arizona Sports

Suns’ Devin Booker earns Western Conference Player of the Week honors

After leading the Suns to a 3-0 record on the road, guard Devin Booker was named Western Conference Player of the Week.
2 days ago
Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns drives against Cory Joseph #18 of the Detroit Pistons in the se...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns roll through Pistons for convincing road win

The Phoenix Suns were not going to let another matinee weekend game on a road trip get the better of them.
3 days ago
Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham (2) drives to the basket as Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton...
Arizona Sports

Suns’ Deandre Ayton leaves win vs. Pistons with sprained right ankle

Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams had no update on center Deandre Ayton after he exited Sunday's win in Detroit with an ankle injury.
3 days ago
Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker goes to the basket against Indiana Pacers' Myles Turner (33) during the ...
Kellan Olson

Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton carry Suns’ offense in win against Pacers

The Suns got two outstanding performances from Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker to carry them until they turned it on against the Pacers.
5 days ago
NBA Draft Lottery positioning update: Suns closing in on best odds