Well the dust has settled Suns fans. We did all that tanking. Gobs and gobs of tanking, and we’ve been rewarded with the number four pick in next month’s NBA Draft.
It appears as if that masterful 13-game losing streak Phoenix put together across March and April wasn’t enough to crack the code of the NBA Draft Lottery. Perhaps tanking is an inexact science after all.
So what will the Suns do? Here’s the latest mock draft round-up, guaranteed to change before the end of your workday.
Jeremy Woo, Sports Illustrated: Josh Jackson, Forward, Freshman, Kansas
Well, the Suns should be giddy if they land Jackson here as a sidekick for Devin Booker. He’s one of the best defenders in the class, physically ready to contribute, and a consistent jumper away from growing into a tremendous player. After doubling down on big men a year ago, Jackson fills a hole for Phoenix at small forward and could give Booker quality defensive cover for the next decade. This feels like a natural fit.
Mike Schmitz & Derek Bodner, Draft Express: Jayson Tatum, SF, Freshman, Duke
Jayson Tatum remains one of the more unique players in this draft, with an advanced array of offensive moves, high skill level, and a physical profile that affords him considerable potential, and versatility, on the defensive end as well. While this keeps Tatum's floor relatively high, there's still some question about exactly what his role will be at the next level. Can he continue to hone his offensive game to the point where he can develop into a high-level, efficient, shot creator for both himself and his teammates? If not, can he continue to refine his off-ball skills to be a more consistent shooter on the perimeter, and thus a more effective secondary offensive option? These are the questions NBA decision makers will be tasked with figuring out over the next few months as they try to pin down exactly what Tatum's ceiling is.
Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report: Josh Jackson
On a positive note, the Phoenix Suns don't have to worry about Lonzo Ball creating a backcourt logjam. Josh Jackson, who should get looks from each of the top three teams, will slide in perfectly at small forward between Devin Booker and Marquese Chriss.
The Suns' uptempo offense should also suit Jackson,one of the draft's most explosive athletes. Considering the team finished 28th in defensive efficiency last season, Phoenix will welcome his quickness and ball pressure as well.
With Eric Bledsoe, Booker, Jackson, Chriss and Dragan Bender, the Suns will suddenly have an exciting, explosive young core.
Reid Forgrave, CBS Sports: De’Aaron Fox, Point Guard, Freshman, Kentucky
OK, I'll say it: I think De'Aaron Fox will be a better all-around point guard than Markelle Fultz, and could end up as the best player in this draft – if he is able to add a competent 3-point shot to his arsenal. (That's something an Eastern Conference scout told me as well.) He's the speediest player in this draft. He measured well at the combine. He's the best two-way point guard in this stacked point guard draft. He can create. And pairing Fox and Devin Booker could make the Suns the most exciting backcourt in the league.
Ricky O’Donnell, SB Nation: Josh Jackson
Jackson is a plus athlete, a willing defender, a crafty offensive creator, and the type of player who never takes a possession off. He is a two-way wing at a time when they are valued more than ever. Jackson will immediately bring the Suns both versatility and an increased competitive spirit. If his three-point shot keeps coming around, he has All-Star potential.
Sean Deveney, Sporting News: Josh Jackson
Though he made 37.8 percent of his 3-pointers for the Jayhawks, there are some concerns about Jackson’s shooting — a team that sees past that could very well choose him first overall. He can score and has the potential to be an elite defender.
Adi Joseph, USA Today: Josh Jackson
The Suns are in a tricky spot in their rebuilding process, still trying to figure out exactly what they have in just about all of their prospects. But Devin Booker and whomever they draft now seem to be the centerpieces. Jackson gives them a potential ace defender whose passing is underrated and who won’t take the ball out of Booker’s hands.
Chad Ford, ESPN: Josh Jackson
The Suns fell two spots, but it’s not the end of the world, because point guard isn’t really a need.
Jackson is probably the best fit for Phoenix in the draft. He’s a versatile two-way wing who is great in the open court, can lock down three positions and plays with an intensity reminiscent of Kevin Durant. His jump shot is shaky, but the Suns have plenty of shooters.
Kellan Olson, Arizona Sports: Josh Jackson
The Suns get the man who would have been in consideration at No. 2. Jackson fills the big hole on the roster as a defensive stopper on the perimeter and most importantly, is a pick that keeps the team winning around Eric Bledsoe running the show. He also has the potential to be a legitimate threat offensively after he became a better shooter over the course of the season at Kansas. He already has some nice skills off the dribble.