Kent Somers and Jay Dieffenbach discuss the Suns’ decision to shut down Eric Bledsoe for the season and the possibility of them getting UCLA’s Lonzo Ball? Video: azcentral sports


Suns fans, it’s time to get serious about this lottery-ball thing.

The tank-em-all-for-Lonzo-Ball momentum is real – especially since “the management” has given precious few reasons to root for victories over the final 12 games.

Disclaimer: We have no real certainty about whom the Suns value most, but UCLA’s star freshman has to be firmly in the conversation.

The past two years, the No. 1 overall pick has been won, via lottery, by the team with the worst record, breaking a streak of 10 consecutive years in which the team with the worst record did not win the lottery.

Right now, the Suns would have just less than a 16 percent chance to land the No. 1 pick (expected to be among Ball, Washington’s Markelle Fultz, Kansas’ Josh Jackson and Duke’s Jayson Tatum).

And even if a team “wins” the first selection, there’s no guarantee of a franchise-changing event. Since the 2000 draft, the top picks include Kwame Brown, Andrea Bargnani, Andrew Bogut, Greg Oden and Anthony Bennett.

NBA MOCK DRAFTS: Josh Jackson, Lonzo Ball or Jayson Tatum for Suns?

The team most likely to “win” the first overall pick is the Brooklyn Nets, with the Los Angeles Lakers fading as fast as their feet can backpedal.

From there it becomes a furious fight to fail.

The Suns began their post-All-Star-break attack by placing key contributors Tyson Chandler and Brandon Knight on the bench. They have remained there ever since.

Seeing how the Orlando Magic, Sacramento Kings and Philadelphia 76ers were finding new ways to lose, the Suns last Wednesday decided that Eric Bledsoe had done enough this season, sitting the team’s co-MVP as he was producing career-bests in points, assists, field-goal percentage, free-throw percentage and rebounds. Oh, and steals and blocks.

Now, the stage is set and, while finishing second- or third-worst is no guarantee of selecting second or third, it certainly improves the odds.

NBA DRAFT LOTTERY ODDS: Where Suns, others could pick

Tank tops

Here’s a look at the Loser List, Stink Standings, Top Tankers, etc.

Nets, 13-56, remaining games: They’ve clinched. Who cares?

Lakers, 20-50, remaining games: vs. LAC, vs. MIN, vs. POR, vs. WAS, at MIN, at LAC, vs. MEM, at SA, vs. SAC, vs. MIN, vs. NO, at GS

Suns, 22-48, remaining games: at MIA, at BKN, at BOS, at CHA, at ATL, vs. LAC, at POR, vs. HOU, vs. GS, vs. OKC, vs. DAL, at SAC

Magic, 26-45, remaining games: vs. PHI, vs. CHA, vs. DET, at TOR, vs. OKC, at BOS, at BKN, at CLE, vs. BKN, vs. IND, at CHI, vs. DET

76ers, 26-44, remaining games: at ORL, at OKC, at CHI, at IND, at BKN, vs. ATL, at CLE, at TOR, vs. BKN, vs. CHI, vs. MIL, vs. IND, at NYK

Knicks, 27-43, remaining games: at LAC, at UTA, at POR, at SA, vs. DET, vs. MIA, at MIA, vs. BOS, vs. CHI, vs. WAS, at MEM, vs. TOR, vs. PHI

Kings, 27-43, remaining games: vs. MIL, at GS, at LAC, vs. MEM, vs. UTA, at NO, at MIN, vs. DAL, at LAK, vs. HOU, vs. PHX, at LAC

T-Wolves, 28-41, remaining games: vs. SA, at LAK, at POR, at IND, vs. LAK, vs. SAC, vs. POR, at GS, at POR, at UTA, at LAK, vs. OKC, at HOU

Pelicans, 29-41, remaining games: vs. MEM, at HOU, at DEN, at UTA, vs. DAL, vs. SAC, vs. CHI, vs. DEN, at DEN, at GS, at LAK, vs. POR

ON FACEBOOK: Weigh in on what Suns should do in draft

A quick reminder

Under the current rules, only the top three picks are decided by the lottery, and are chosen from the 14 teams that do not make the playoffs. The team with the worst record, or the team that holds the draft rights of the team with the worst record, has the best chance to obtain a higher draft pick. After the top three positions are selected (from the lottery slotting system), the remainder of the first-round draft order is in inverse order of the win-loss record

Since 2005, with 30 NBA teams, 16 qualify for the playoffs and the remaining 14 teams enter in the draft lottery. These 14 teams are ranked in reverse order of their regular season record and are assigned the following number of chances

Nets: 250 combinations, 25.0% chance of receiving the #1 pick

No. 2: 199 combinations, 19.9% chance

No. 3: 156 combinations, 15.6% chance

No. 4: 119 combinations, 11.9% chance

No. 5: 88 combinations, 8.8% chance

No. 6: 63 combinations, 6.3% chance

No. 7: 43 combinations, 4.3% chance

No. 8: 28 combinations, 2.8% chance

No. 9: 17 combinations, 1.7% chance

No. 10: 11 combinations, 1.1% chance

No. 11: 8 combinations, 0.8% chance

No. 12: 7 combinations, 0.7% chance

No. 13: 6 combinations, 0.6% chance

No. 14: 5 combinations, 0.5% chance

NBA POWER RANKINGS: What to make of Suns?

But wait, there’s hope

If the Suns don’t grab the top spot via the lottery, there is evidence of franchise-changing talent after the first pick.

The first-team All-NBA rosters over the past couple of decades certainly include few No. 1 overall picks (Kevin Garnett, LeBron James, Tim Duncan, Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin) but take a look at some of the talent selected No. 2 or later:

From the past 10 years’ worth of All-NBA teams (five players only)

Kevin Durant 2nd

James Harden 3rd

Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook 4th

Dwyane Wade 5th

Steph Curry 7th

Amare’ Stoudemire, Dirk Nowitzki, Joakim Noah, 9th

Kobe Bryant 13th

Kawhi Leonard, Steve Nash 15th

Marc Gasol and DeAndre Jordan were second-rounders.

SUNS DRAFT LOTTERY HISTORY: How have they fared?

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