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CHICAGO — Jim Pitman describes himself as a “numbers guy.” He has a degree in accounting and has spent the past 19 seasons as a Phoenix Suns executive president overseeing the team’s finances.
It should come as no surprise that entering Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery, he knew the math, perhaps better than most. He knew the Suns, thanks to an ugly 21-61 season, had a 25 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft, the best odds in the league.
“I know there are probabilities involved and that there’s only so much I can do,” he told Bleacher Report.
But that didn’t mean he couldn’t try to play with fate just a bit.
The Suns had selected Pitman to be their representative in the off-camera back room where lottery results are decided. It was a role Pitman took seriously. If there were any place where the results could be influenced, this—not the made-for-TV dais put together to react to already-determined order—was it.
And so, in his inner suit pocket, Pitman carried three lucky charms, all related to his previous lottery success.
There was a WNBA championship ring, which he won in his other role as general manager for the Phoenix Mercury; a photograph of Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner, two former No. 1 picks who led the Mercury to that title, with a scribbled message from Taurasi (“I can’t exactly read it, something to do with the No. 1 picks and dreaming,” Pitman said); and a Russian league championship medal Griner recently won.