Arizona Sports: Suns get first draft pick, sports betting legal, new pro team
May 17, 2018
It’s a busy year for Arizona sports as the Phoenix Suns get the first draft pick for the first time in franchise history. Plus, sports betting has become legal, the Diamondbacks are looking for a new stadium and a new pro-football league is coming to town.
Suns get first draft pick
The Suns finished this season with the worst record in the NBA with 21 wins and 61 losses. As a compensation for being the worst team currently in the league, they were given the first overall draft pick.
“It was a great moment for the organization,” ASU Sports Journalism Professor Paola Boivin says. “I don’t think they’ve been in the post-season since 2010-2011, but they are finally building that necessary framework.”
When it comes to who the Suns are going to pick, Boivin says they’re being coy for a reason. The prediction is that the team will go with the University of Arizona’s Deandre Ayton. Boivin says the 7’1″ center would be a great complement to Devin Booker and Josh Jackson.
Diamondbacks get the okay to look for new stadium
The Diamondbacks have been complaining about needed renovations to their home stadium – Chase Field in downtown Phoenix – for some time now. The county, which owns the stadium, has persistently told the team no – until now. The two sides have reached an agreement that allows the team to look at other stadiums.
“I think they’ve been looking for awhile,” Boivin says. “When we have tribal land nearby, those conversations will come up. It’s hard to get a stadium built these days… I’m just hearing they’re looking. I don’t think it’s a for-sure thing with this group.”
Supreme Court throws sports betting laws out the window
Boivin says the removal of sports betting laws has been a long time coming now. The landscape of sports has been changing, especially since Las Vegas got a hockey team and now there’s talk of a football team, she says.
“Arizona gets complicated because of the compacts the state has with the Native American community…,” Boivin says. “I think we will see changes not only in Arizona obviously, but in the U.S. There will be people being able to bet out in the open instead of behind scenes.”
Boivin predicts that sports betting will also be beneficial to the leagues because it will attract people back to their television screens.
The Alliance League is a new pro-football team coming to Arizona. There will be about eight or 10 teams and the season will begin about a week after the Super Bowl. The league does have the opportunity to be successful as it has money backing it and a television contract, Boivin says.
The indoor football league will be playing at Sun Devil Stadium.