May 15, 2018 / 5:43 AM / 5 months ago

NBA notebook: Suns have top shot at No. 1 pick, but ...

The Phoenix Suns own the best chance to win the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft when ping-pong balls are sorted out Tuesday night at the Palmer House in Chicago.

Mar 10, 2018; Charlotte, NC, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Elfrid Payton (2) shoots the ball against Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker (15) in the second half at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Memphis Grizzlies hold the next-best odds to land the top spot. The top 14 selections in the draft are determined by the annual lottery.

In the final year of NBA tanking as we know it — rules adopted for 2019 will give the three worst teams by final record an equal 14 percent chance at the top pick in the draft lottery — Phoenix owns a 25.1 percent chance at No. 1 and 64.2 percent chance at a top-three pick.

Memphis stands at 19.9 percent/55.8 percent. Dallas (13.8 percent for top pick, 42.5 percent top three), the Atlanta Hawks (13.7 percent/42.4 percent), Orlando Magic (8.8 percent/29.1 percent), Chicago Bulls (5.3 percent/18.3 percent) have the next best chances for fortunes-shifting outcomes on Tuesday.

—Mike Budenholzer is the top candidate to become head coach of two NBA franchises, ESPN reported on Monday.

Budenholzer and the Toronto Raptors engaged in contract talks over the weekend, and the Milwaukee Bucks plan to revisit discussions about their job opening this week, per the report. Milwaukee has interviews set this week with former Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt and San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon.

Budenholzer was 2015-16 NBA Coach of the Year but was released from his contract with the Atlanta Hawks at the end of this regular season to pursue other opportunities.

—Tyronn Lue told the Cleveland Cavaliers to put Game 1 behind them, chalk it up to a bad game in the opener of the Eastern Conference finals, and get ready for Game 2 of the best-of-seven series on Tuesday.

Apr 8, 2018; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks (24) handles the ball against Detroit Pistons forward Anthony Tolliver (43) during the second half at FedExForum. Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Detroit Pistons 130-117. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

“We’ll play better,” the Cavs coach said Monday following practice at TD Garden. “We had a bad game.”

Behind the scenes, Lue was looking for ways to adjust to the balanced Boston lineup on the heels of a decisive 108-83 victory for the Celtics on Sunday. Al Horford had 20 points for the Celtics and met little resistance from Kevin Love, who has been starting at center for Cleveland.

—Lloyd Pierce made one thing very clear at his first news conference as coach of the Hawks.

The 42-year-old is passionate about defense. He spotted some Atlanta players in the seats, and defense immediately came to mind.

“If we weren’t doing this press conference right now, I’d probably have these guys doing some defensive drills,” Pierce said during his introduction. “That’s who I am.”

—A New York-area man was arrested Friday after allegedly threatening to kill NBA commissioner Adam Silver, multiple outlets reported.

David Pyant, 27, is charged with aggravated harassment, the New York Post reported. According to the Post and TMZ, Pyant emailed a threatening letter to Silver last summer, saying he would kill Silver with a gun if he was not allowed to play in the NBA.

The Post reported that Pyant has 13 prior arrests and had served prison time for robbery. TMZ reported that Pyant was also served with a temporary restraining order requiring him to stay away from the commissioner, and that Pyant was released without bail.

—Field Level Media

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