Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
On Thursday, June 26, the fate of 60 young men will be determined.
This night is none other than the NBA Draft. Players coming from a background each unique to his own will conjugate in New York City to become members of the NBA.
Just a year ago, the Phoenix Suns outlook was bleak. Even the most optimistic Suns supporter could have never fathomed the outcome that 2013-14 would produce. While most experts generously predicted 20 victories, the Suns shattered the proverbial glass ceiling and won an astounding 48.
Their first round selection from last June’s draft, Alex Len, barely contributed to this success. With an additional summer to work on his game, Len figures to be a more consist member of the rotation next season.
The Suns discovered a hidden gem in former Duke forward, Miles Plumlee. Originally drafted by the Indiana Pacers with the 26th overall pick, Plumlee found his way into the rotation with Phoenix and blossomed into a fan favorite.
Opposed to drafts in other sports where positioning in the draft goes by how poorly a team performed the previous season, basketball has the lottery. While it may be only a 0.5 percent chance the Suns will hit the jackpot and get to choose between Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker, they are just a doctored Ping-Pong ball away from having a new face of the franchise.
This scenario always creates for a difficult task of projecting which players an organization will be looking at.
Over at ESPN.com, Chad Ford is the college basketball prospect/NBA Draft guru. His latest projections (based on the logic of each team going where they have the highest probability of being slotted) have the Suns selecting the freshman guard out of UCLA, Zach LaVine.
Now, should Phoenix manage to move up the boards into the upper echelon, does it becomes highly unlikely LaVine is the man selected? Absolutely. No doubt, a tremendous talent, LaVine would be a steal for the Suns at the #14 spot.
In recent years, organizations have trended towards players with tremendous athletic ability, and not much proven game at the college level. LaVine was probably the third best player on his team last season during UCLA’s PAC-12 conference championship run, but he ranks as maybe the best pure athlete in the draft behind the aforementioned Wiggins.
Blessed with an inhumane vertical that makes him appear half pterodactyl, half sweet-stroking wingman, LaVine is a tremendous blend of talent. He averaged only 9.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game, but as noted earlier, NBA scouts could care less about that—they’re too busy drooling over his outstanding leaping ability.
Nonetheless, we are just under two months away from the NBA Draft taking place, and countless other mock drafts are surely on their way.
For now, this is the best form of optimism for a desperate Suns fan base who came so close to sniffing the waxy floors of the NBA Postseason in 2014.
As a collective fan base, does the selection of Zach LaVine interest you?