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NBA Draft Lottery: Phoenix Suns Hope To Break Burial Ground Curse

The Phoenix Suns are not a lucky team. Throughout their history misfortune has fallen on the heads of the Suns organization in the form of lost coin flips and blown calls to a devastating plane crash that took the life of a young prospect. The Suns hope that Mark West's presence at the 2011 NBA Draft Lottery will give the franchise a stroke of good fortune to balance out the curse.

The Salt River Valley that is home to the modern city of Phoenix was home for thousands of years prior to the Hohokam people. According to the City of Phoenix Guidelines for Archaeology, there are many construction sites in the downtown area that have unearthed the remains of Native American presence. The government document includes detailed instructions on how to deal with remains that are discovered during construction.

It is no stretch to assume that the builders of Veterans Memorial Coliseum didn't take many precautions in the early 60's when they were excavating the site that would become the first home of the Phoenix Suns. It's well known that downtown Phoenix is filled Hohokam burial sites that in more recent times have slowed various construction projects. Were some remains disturbed in the early 90's when the US Airways Center was being built? It's hard to think they weren't.

What else but a burial ground curse explains the Phoenix Suns string of bad luck. Here's a list of some of the more notable misfortunes:

  • In an age before ping pong ball lottery, it was a coin toss that sent the number one pick in the 1969 NBA Draft to the Milwaukee Bucks. Lew Alcindor, aka Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, was that close to becoming a Sun.
  • In the 1976 NBA Finals, the Suns were involved what's described as "The Greatest Game". A triple-overtime affair famous for Gar Heard's "Shot Heard Round The World". It was Game 5 and the series was tied 2-2. "With the score tied at 95-95, Boston's Paul Silas attempted to call a timeout near the end of regulation with the Celtics out of timeouts. Referee Richie Powers appeared to have seen Silas signal the timeout, but did not grant it.". Had the proper call be made the Suns would been awarded a free throw and likely would have won the game in regulation.
  • Numerous injuries hurt the Suns in the playoffs. Ced Ceballos' foot in 1993, Joe Johnson's face in 2005, Kurt Thomas and Raja Bell's injuries in 2006, and Steve Nash's nose in 2007. 
Those are just a few examples of the kind of misfortune that all teams face. For the Suns however, there's not once been a corresponding incident of franchise-changing good luck. Not one case of the lottery balls favoring the team that must be cursed.

On Tuesday night the 2011 NBA Draft Lottery will be held. Former Suns' player Mark West will be the good luck charm that the team hopes will change all that and defy the two percent odds and land a top three pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.