After a resurgent year, the Suns could look to improve through the lottery.
As the NBA draft quickly approaches, teams will be placing calls trying to make moves to better their franchise for years to come. Some teams may be looking to trade out of the lottery in order to collect assets, while others teams will be looking to trade up to score the next big star in the league. Here are three teams that could possibly trade up into the lottery of this year’s draft:
1. Phoenix Suns
The Suns possess four picks (numbers 15, 18, 27 and 50) in this year’s draft. All of those picks will make them one of the busiest teams in the league over the next few weeks.
The Suns were one of the biggest surprises in the league this season. They finished 48-34 in the ultra-competitive Western Conference even though most pegged them as a team that could potentially have one of the worst records in the league. This is why I could see them moving into the lottery. Instead of having to rebuild through the draft, the Suns, who already have a solid, young core, can package a deal with their multitude of draft picks to move up and get a player in the lottery who they think can propel them into the playoffs next year. I think the Sacramento Kings at No. 8 are a possible trade partner for the Suns if there is a player still available that they really like. The Suns will have plenty of options on draft night, and one of them is trading up into the lottery.
2. Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks are in no-man’s land right now. They made the playoffs with a losing record and are not on the upswing. This is a tough position for any team – do you just continue making the playoffs as the eighth seed and lose in the first round, or do you bottom out and look to rebuild? Bill Simmons and Zach Lowe of Grantland said on a podcast last week that the Hawks were quietly (but actively) listening to trade offers for Al Horford around the trade deadline this season. If this is indeed true, then it leads me to believe the Hawks have at least thought about changing directions with their franchise. It would not totally shock me if the Hawks dangled Horford or Paul Millsap in order to move up into the lottery. Boston at six seems like a possibility.
3. Chicago Bulls
The Bulls have the 16th and 19th picks in this year’s draft. With that said, there is a possibility that they move up into the lottery in order to snag a player they hope can help them contend next year for a championship. While this will not happen if they pursue Kevin Love or Carmelo Anthony in the offseason, it could be a possibility if they jump up and grab an impact player in the latter part of the lottery. Like the Suns, the Bulls will be a popular team around draft time because of their two mid-first-round picks.