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Suns #1 Pick Parade: Bamba on Saturday, likely Jackson on Sunday

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The Phoenix Suns are hosting Mohamed Bamba on Saturday and another player on Sunday, likely to be Jaren Jackson Jr.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Nashville Practice Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Sure it might seem like the Phoenix Suns have already settled on Deandre Ayton as the #1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

But maybe the pick isn’t as set in stone as we think. You’d think that if the agents for Mohamed Bamba and (likely) Jaren Jackson Jr. were as sure the Suns were taking Ayton as the fan base is, they’d have cancelled their players’ visits over the weekend.

Nonetheless, the Phoenix confirmed Bamba’s visit on Saturday and told media there would be another solo workout on Sunday.

For his part, Bamba appears to have put a lot of thought joining the Phoenix Suns.

“They have guys like Devin, Josh, Elfrid and TJ and those guys are really great at scoring the ball but they need a guy like me who can change the geometry of the game.”

Bamba is a very talented shot blocker, an active rim dedender and developing three-point shooter. At his apex, he could become Rudy Gobert with an outside shot. Imagine THAT.

Here he is developing his three-point shot in recent weeks, sporting a revamped stroke.

Bamba has by far the longest wingspan of the top prospects at an eye-popping 7’10” (which is 1.5 inches longer than Gobert himself). He is second-tallest (to Ayton), pulls down almost as many rebounds (second in rebound rate) as Ayton and almost as many blocks (second in block rate) as JJJ.

But he’s also second-thinnest at 225 pounds among the 4-man group, ahead of only Bagley. Both players will need time to physically adjust to the NBA game over a full season.

He’s also one of the best-spoken prospects in the draft who believes wholeheartedly in himself as a difference-maker.

“I’m not trying to be boastful of my abilities and I’m not trying to be cocky or anything, but there are only five guys in the league today that can protect the rim better than I can right now.”

“It’s very critical for them (Suns) to draft the most reliable player, with the highest ceiling, who can also make an immediate impact.”

Tune in at 11:30 on both Saturday and Sunday to hear the other candidates talk about their #1 pick candidacy. And maybe the audience will actually give them that chance before making them talk about Ayton first.