Circle this date on your calendars, Suns fans. May 17, 2011 is the day the NBA holds its Draft Lottery. It's not a process the Phoenix Suns are very familiar with as this is only the fourth time since 1988 the Purple and Orange will be watching the playoffs from the golf course club house while fans and front office executives have their attention turned to the draft and lottery.
NBA Draft Lottery primer
The lottery is a convoluted process designed to help the league's worst teams get better. The worse the record, the more chance a team has to end up with a top three pick. Once those top three are determined via ping pong balls, the rest of the teams are ordered based on record.
For the Suns, this means they currently have less than a one percent chance of winning the lottery and getting a top pick. Most likely they will be drafting around number 13. Lucky 13.
Impact of CBA / lockout on NBA Draft
Unlike the NFL who is holding their draft after their CBA expired, the NBA draft comes before the anticipated lockout. So, while some college players like a Derrick Williams may opt for an extra year of college instead of having their rookie season marred by labor strife, the lockout won't impact the draft itself.
Over the next few weeks leading up to the NBA Draft date -- June 23, 2011 -- we will posting regular updates on the various mock drafts. We will also be on-hand to talk to players the Suns bring in for workouts and we will do our best to get a feel for which direction the team is leaning.
At this point, there's really no position you can say the team doesn't need to fill. Talent and readiness to play at the NBA level are the likely Suns draft philosophy. In 2009 the team took Earl Clark with the 14th pick with the understanding that he was a high-risk, long term project. I would not expect the 2011 Suns to take such a gamble.