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The Phoenix Suns are going to be one of the worst teams in the NBA this year, but they've set themselves up perfectly for the 2014 NBA Draft.
The Suns have four first-round picks. Here's how they got them:
- Pick #1: Their own.
- Pick #2: Minnesota Timberwolves, top-13 protected. Acquired in a July 2012 three-team trade that sent Robin Lopez and Hakim Warrick to New Orleans.
- Pick #3: Indiana Pacers, top-14 protected. Acquired in a July 2013 trade that sent Luis Scola to Indiana.
- Pick #4: Washington Wizards, top-12 protected. Acquired in a trade last week that sent Marcin Gortat to Washington.
They also traded their best wing player Jared Dudley to the Clippers for Eric Bledsoe — a young guard who could blossom over the next few years, but isn't as good as Dudley right now.
Nearly every NBA commentator has Phoenix finishing with one of the three worst records in the league, so their own pick will probably be in the top three. The other picks could ostensibly be bundled together for another top-tier pick.
This is so intriguing because the 2014 Draft is expected to be the best draft in a decade.
ESPN's NBA draft expert Chad Ford wrote in August:
"The 2014 NBA draft is going to be epic . Our initial 2014 Big Board is one of the most talent-laden I've ever seen. There are as many as five to eight future All-Stars in this group. A number of teams deliberately gutted their rosters this summer to try to get as high as possible in the 2014 lottery. It's going to be big."
Eight All-Stars! Some of the players NBA geeks are excited about:
- Andrew Wiggins (Kansas freshman)
- Dante Exum (Australian 18-year-old point guard)
- Jabari Parker (Duke fresman)
- Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State sophomore)
- Julius Randle (Kentucky freshman)
- Aaron Gordon (Arizona freshman)
- Andrew Harrison (Kentucky freshman)
- Dario Saric (Croatian 19-year-old forward)
The guys the Suns have traded over the last year are all solid role players. Gortat is one of the better centers in the league, Lopez is a good energy guy off the bench, and Scola is going to be a key part of Indiana's second unit.
But those guys weren't going to turn Phoenix into a title contender or even a second-round playoff team.
The fact that they were able to turn those pieces into a cache of draft picks in one of the best drafts ever is incredible. They'll be awful this year, but four years from now they could be reborn with multiple All-Stars.
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