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Balls.

Posted by Alex W.C. on 7:09 PM

By the numbers. That is what was expected today.

However, when the Phoenix Mercury walked away with the #1 pick, some fans were elated, others were in dismay, and some…well, were just downright pissed off.

The term, “tanked” was the most common word heard when referring to the Phoenix Mercury this season, many believing that they purposely threw in the towel to increase their lottery chances. That just doesn’t make sense, as the worst record has never been a guarantee to get a #1 pick – just ask the Tulsa Shock. Besides, with many of the starters on the bench from injuries this year, it is not like Phoenix had its talent purposely not trying to win. Plus, a new rookie point guard (which is a tough position to start in as a rookie, especially with a team like Phoenix) the Mercury had quite a challenge this year. When they were eliminated from the playoffs, even COO Amber Cox admitted to giving Taurasi a rest.

And let’s face it, if Taurasi wanted to play – she would play. So in my eyes, the decision was mutual. A less-than-stellar season was behind them, so they gambled and it paid off. After being eliminated from the playoffs, what exactly would they be trying to prove? 

Ok, ok, ok, you can stop with the “You’re a Mercury fan, so you’re biased” talk. Say what you want, but if Phoenix did purposely tank, they had just as much chance to end up like the Mystics did. Ok, example - 2008 in the NBA, the Chicago Bulls with a .017% chance (ninth on the list) nab the #1 pick. As a matter of fact, in the last five years in the NBA, the worst-record team has never gotten the #1 pick. It is also a rarity in the WNBA. All the teams with abysmal records this year were well aware that the balls may not bounce in their favor, no matter how badly they needed a #1 pick. 

Let the conspiracy theories begin!! 

Oh, and speaking of the Mystics, I personally think this is karma for that wonderful decision that the Mystics management made to get rid of Plank and Taylor. With that GM/Coach combo, they had a phenomenal two seasons – then they handed over the reins to Lacey, and traded or lost their Maryland and Duke players that appeal to local fans. This move left many long time Mystics fans wondering about the future of their team as they proceeded to follow this with two of the worst seasons in Mystics history. If the attendance this year is any indication, many of those fans have lost hope. Now with a 4th pick in the draft, the Mystics not only have to pick the right player, they have to find the right coach. *cough cough* Meadors *cough*

I know. Subtle.

Let’s not forget that the Mercury may not pick Griner. I know, the chances are slim, but the club has made some, shall we say, non-traditional choices with the #1 pick. Hello…Tangela Smith anyone? And yes, Tangela helped Phoenix get two rings, namely the two big 3’s in the 4th quarter in game 5 of the 2009 series. This kind of decision making is evident that Meyers Drysdale knows how to fill a need on the team as opposed to going for the popular choice, and she leans toward getting one particular blue hen by the name of Delle Donne. It is possible that Phoenix could make a deal with Chicago to send Griner to the windy city for Delle Donne, plus a future draft pick, or whomever they can snag. Crazy I know, but if it happens, I would not be the least bit surprised. Plus, AMD has shown to have a knack for wheeling and dealing; just look how the Mercury landed Dupree in a three team deal.

We’ll have to wait till April to find out, but if all the pieces fit right, and a majority of the players are healthy, the 2013 season is going to be quite amazing.

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