The two most important games on the Phoenix Suns' schedule will be two games this evening that the team doesn't participate in.
That's where the Suns find themselves right now, on the outside looking in at their future, hoping to add another key lottery pick in the hopes of rebuilding through the draft.
The two games tonight in two different arenas will determine the Suns immediate future. When the Los Angeles Lakers host the Houston Rockets tonight, they will already know their path to the playoffs. The Utah Jazz are playing the Memphis Grizzlies earlier this evening and if the Jazz win, they put a ton of pressure on the Lakers to win tonight against the Rockets.
The Lakers open this evening with three options: seventh-seed in the playoffs, eighth-seed in the playoffs or missing the playoffs all together. The only way they would miss the playoffs is if the Jazz win tonight and then the Lakers lose.
If the Jazz win and the Lakers lose, the Suns draft prospects change dramatically. They would go from receiving the Lakers first-round pick (30th overall) to receiving the Lakers first-round pick (14th overall), huge difference for the Suns in this draft.
Phoenix, by virtue of having the fourth-worst record in the NBA at 25-56, will be receiving a top-five lottery pick. Give the Suns the fourth pick and the 14th pick of the first round and immediately Phoenix would have a ton of options in this coming draft, whether it would be players or trades.
All this is courtesy of the Steve Nash trade last summer, the gift that keeps on giving. Suns' fans already have enough reason to root against the Lakers, tonight they just have a little bit more incentive and a vested interest in what happens tonight.
Information used from NBA.com,