All trades are not created equal in present tense. Some trades make teams better in the short term while others are a part or a more methodical, long-term approach, with those trades where there is a vision of small ripples in the water versus a big splash. Some big splashes are smoke and mirrors.

The Washington Wizards, Indiana Pacers, and Milwaukee Bucks can afford to make short-term moves because those teams already have a foot in the door for the playoffs.

For them adding a Marcin Gortat, a Luis Scola, or a Caron Butler is worth dealing away younger prospects and assets because those veterans add a dynamic to the roster. In the short-term those teams become better and more competitive today, but in the long-term those sacrifices catch up to every team and set-up re-building phases that is ultimately unavoidable.

All of the moves made by the Phoenix Suns over the past year and a half (yes, some credible moves by Mr. Blanks) have created a forecast that is positive.

Today's trade of Gortat, Kendall Marshall, Shannon Brown, and Malcolm Lee gave the Suns another first round pick arming them with the potential to have four first round picks in the vaunted 2014 NBA Draft. On top of having their own pick, the team owns the Pacers pick outright, the Timberwolves pick (Top 13 protected), and the Wizards pick (Top 12 protected).

The Suns drafted their future anchor in Alex Len last year in the Top 5 of the 2013 NBA Draft, this year, with their own pick, the team will likely have another shot at a franchise player in that same range.

By all accounts the Suns are projected to be a bottom two team this year in the standings, but a lottery is a lottery and they could select anywhere between 1-5 depending on how the ping-pong balls bounce. The team with the best odds in the NBA Draft can finish with the top pick (25.0% odds), second overall (21.5%), third overall (17.8%), or the fourth overall pick (35.7%), but can fall no lower than fourth.

If the team finishes with the second worst record (as they are projected to) the odds change ever so slightly for the first overall pick (19.9%), second overall pick (18.8%), third overall pick (18.8%), fourth overall pick (31.9%), and the fifth overall pick (12.3%), but can fall no lower than fifth.

With the first or second worst record the Suns will do no worse than getting the fourth or fifth best prospect in the upcoming draft.

That is relevant because most NBA decision-makers have dubbed Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle, Jabari Parker, Dante Exum, and Marcus Smart as potential franchise changers at the top of the draft. With the current direction of the roster only Len, Archie Goodwin, and either Eric Bledsoe or Goran Dragic seem to have a long-term future with the team. Considering team make-up and long-term projections, something this front office is clearly focused on, any of those five would be an ideal fit.

The Wizards and the Timberwolves are projected to finish anywhere between the 10th-17th overall pick. This means that the Suns could end up with 2, 3, or 4 total first round picks.

On the NDI Big Board the prospects ranked between 12-17, where the Wizards and Timberwolves picks would fall to be owned by the Suns, are Gary Harris (Michigan State), Bobby Portis (Arkansas), Mario Hezonja (Croatia), Montrezl Harrell (Louisville), and Willie Cauley-Stein (Kentucky), for a throw-in Mitch McGary (Michigan).

All of those prospects have a lot of upside and could be quality rotation players at the NBA Level. The Suns could get up to two of them.

The Indiana Pacers are one of the better five teams in the NBA and should have a pick between 24-28 this year. Prospects in that range include Alex Poythress (Kentucky), LaQuinton Ross (Ohio State), Doug McDermott (Creighton), Noah Vonleh (Indiana), and Spencer Dinwiddie (Colorado).

All of these picks can be the Suns, they may not get two of them based on the lottery and standings, or might be an attractive package to lure in a star level player to lead the Suns going forward with Len, Goodwin, and the teams top pick.

A combination of the talents listed and others will be on the menu in the 2014 NBA Draft.

The long-term plans are in place for the team and general manager Ryan McDonough has turned things around in a few short months turning two veterans into first round picks. Former general manager Lance Blanks orchestrated the trade that brought in the Minnesota pick. The short-term sacrifice's by the organization will have an ultimate payoff in this upcoming June.

This summer has been McDonough's "Ozymandias," the season will be the "Granite State," while next summer's payoff could be "Felina," a perfect ending where all the pieces fit nicely. Until then the Suns and their fans are officially on "2014 NBA Draft Watch."

The Suns have agreed to send Marcin Gortat, Kendall Marshall, Malcolm Lee and Shannon Brown to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Emeka Okafor and a protected 2014 first-round pick in the trade...

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According to Marc Stein and others (but first from Stein), the Suns are trading Marcin Gortat, Shannon Brown and Kendall Marshall for Emeka Okafor's contract and at least one draft pick (2014 #1 protected top-12).

Bingo!!

Stein_medium

Per Woj, Malcolm Lee was included as well.

Suns send out $14 million in contracts, take back $15 million (Okafor) AND get a #1 2014 pick for their troubles.

More from Bright Side Of The Sun:

It’s official. Kendall Marshall is on the chopping block. Paul Coro reported from Phoenix Suns practice that the second-year point guard is fighting Ish Smith for his job. Hornacek revealed...

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In the summer the most important thing for NBA fans is simple; Rankings.

Not singling out the mother-ship, because all major outlets do these, but ESPN.com had their yearly rankings going 500-1 previewing the NBA by having a panel of experts rank every player in the NBA and then put together a composite. Two things from the rankings stood out as obvious. One, LeBron James is the best player in the NBA and 26 teams saw a player named before the Suns had their first in the 60's with Eric Bledsoe.

There were 26 teams that had a player named before the Phoenix Suns heard their best players name called. Teams including Sacramento, Toronto, Boston, Dallas, and Charlotte. Charlotte.

Of those 26 teams there were 19 that had at least two players ranked ahead of Bledsoe and the Suns. This all means very little considering each individual franchise goes on their own path to get to the same ultimate goal. There are a few teams that are one or two players ahead of the Suns at this point in the game. The organization as a whole is realistic. They want to compete, progress as a team, and develop the type of team that will eventually be at the adult table (more on that here) making waves in the playoffs again.

For #SUNSRANK as we are dubbing this five part series the entire BSOTS staff ranked what we considered the most important 25 figures in the organization 1-25 to create a composite.

This is 100% original and in no way is copying (or mocking) other rankings. Seriously.

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25-21 << 20-16 << 15-11 << 10-6 << 5-1

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No. 25: James Nunnally (23.0)

Profile: 6-7 205 lbs. Small Forward -- Rookie UC Santa Barbara

Stats: (Pre-Season) In 10.3 MPG 3.0 PPG 1.3 APG 1.3 RPG 37.5% FG 33.3% 3PT (2-6)

Interesting Fact: Avid bowler.

Profile: Nunnally has earned the dubious distinction of finishing dead last in this diversion. Somewhat surprising considering he's scored a grand total of nine points through five preseason games. We could dress it up with a litotes and assert that isn't terrible in the least considering he at least made it into the conversation, but it's still last and it's still the Suns. At 23 (which, coincidentally, is where I ranked him - I cleverly used alphabetical order of the first names of the final five... Dionte, Ish, James, Malcolm and Viacheslav... due to their relatively similar "value") years of age Nunnally will likely still have opportunities to make a roster at some point if he doesn't do so here... After all there's always Philadelphia, right? - Jim Coughenour

Important Question: Where will he end up playing this season? I actually had this typed before the news he was waived. It was funnier then...

(Editors Note: Nunnally was waived by the team Thursday, October 24th)

No. 24: Ish Smith (23.0)

Profile: 6-0 175 lbs. Point Guard -- Fourth Year Wake Forest

Stats: (Pre-Season) in 12.4 MPG 2.8 PPG 2.5 APG 1.8 RPG (0 total steals) 27.8% FG 20.0% 3PT (1-5)

Interesting Fact: Brother-in-Law is a former Deacon, played for the Demon Deacons, and graduated with a degree in "religion."

Analysis: The Suns ended up with Ish Smith as part of the Caron Butler trade that saved the Suns over $6 million in salary. Smith was never a need for a team with an already crowded back-court, but they gave him a shot in preseason just to see what they had. Unfortunately, it seems as though Ish is destined to be cut as he doesn't seem to bring anything unique to the team. The only way he may stay is if the Suns find themselves in need of a another point guard if they happen to trade Marshall, but even then, the odds aren't in his favor. - Sean Sullivan

Important Question: Is an undrafted Ish Smith a better option than 2012 lottery pick Kendall Marshall?

No. 23: Viacheslav Kravtsov (Slava) (22.0)


Profile: 6-11 254 lbs. Center -- Second Year Ukraine

Stats: (Pre-Season) In 8.4 MPG 3.4 PPG 1.8 RPG 0.4 BPG 100.0% FG (6-6)

Interesting Fact: As basically a nod to the tough spelling of his name, Slava was referred to by some as "Ctrl+V" or "Ktrl+V" because his name is a candidate to be copied-and-pasted by people consistently.

Analysis: "Slava," as his teammates and coaches call him has been a quiet, steady presence in the paint for the team. He is not a flashy player or a prospect with a high ceiling, but he is a serviceable big man that plays the center the way it used to be played. If the team had not drafted Alex Len or made a move for Miles Plumlee then Slava would be higher up on this list as a rotation player. During the pre-season Slava and Plumlee have basically been auditioning against each other for the third big man slot on the roster and other than shooting the ball (dunking the ball) efficiently, Plumlee has won this battle... - Kristofer Habbas

Important Question: What does Slava do well that his peers at the center position do not?

No. 22: Malcolm Lee (21.0)

Profile: 6-5 200 lbs. Combo Guard -- Third Year UCLA

Stats: (Pre-Season) N/A

Interesting Fact: Lee's sister is an assistant women's basketball coach for the Oregon Ducks and was with the Army Knights before, Shandrika Lee-Gerch.

Analysis: Malcolm Lee has yet to suit up for the Phoenix Suns after the Warriors forced Phoenix to take him off their hands when the teams swapped picks so that the Suns could draft Archie Goodwin. He was drafted out of UCLA in the second round a couple years ago and has appeared in just 37 games and scored just 140 points in two seasons. Lee flashed some defensive potential in Minnesota as a combo-guard, but his career has been derailed by injuries and he still hasn't healthy. I wish him well as he continues his recovery and looks for a new team. - Jacob Padilla

Important Question: How many games will Lee play this year, over/under 10.5?

No. 21: Dionte Christmas (21.0)

Profile: 6-5 205 lbs. Shooting Guard -- Rookie Temple

Stats: (Pre-Season) In 9.8 MPG 4.5 PPG 1.3 APG 1.3 RPG 50% FG 50% 3PT

Interesting Fact: Out-dueled James Harden in the 2009 NCAA Tournament, despite the loss, 29-9 in Christmas' last college game and Harden's second to last. Things have gone different for each since then, but Christmas has that to hang his hat on.

Analysis: Despite Christmas' respect for GM Ryan McDonough, the only way he makes this roster is if the Suns make a many-for-one trade right before cut-down day and he's left standing. It's too bad, since Christmas is PERFECT for promotional stuff in December. The most likely outcome is that Christmas is one of the Suns' late cuts and is eligible to be drafted by the Suns' D-League team to allow the Suns to keep Christmas' rights this season for a later call-up. Christmas can shoot the rock as an instant offense off the bench, but he just can't beat out the other guys at that position. It's a logjam that Christmas loses. -- Dave King

Important Question: Can a guy named Christmas play on Christmas?

Come back tomorrow for 20-16 in the #SUNSRANK series and follow along on Twitter!

Ohhh....

Each ranking will also include one write-in ballot from the writers. We have five tremendous write-in's starting with Dave's:

Write-In Ballot: Dancing Dad's and Grannies (Dave)

Profile: A group of 15-20 fathers and 15-20 grandmothers that are so passionate about the art of dance that they come to most Phoenix Suns home games to entertain. And entertain they shall with an array of moves that are like the love child of Master P (see dancing with the stars the two minute mark should do) and a high school dance breaking into an impromptu Electric Slide with contemporary music playing.

Stats: Twenty old men dancing and no hamstrings pulled. Success.

Interesting Fact: They are actually the best dance team in the NBA.

Analysis: I've got the Gorilla and Suns Dancers ranked in the top ten, and I rank the Dancing Dads/Grannies higher than half the Suns current roster. The Suns need to entertain their fans at the highest level possible this season, and these crazy dancers, along with the other squads, can only help the cause. In full disclosure, I don't overrate all the Suns entertainment. The blow-up dolls (Hairy and Harrison) are way down the list, and Ced Ceballos' replacement Tom Zenner didn't even make it. -- Dave King

Important Question: Can the Suns keep the fans interested during timeouts?

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