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NBA Draft combine notes: De’Aaron Fox measures ‘meh,’ Suns have big options

Kentucky guard De'Aaron Fox (0) shoots over Wichita State forward Rashard Kelly (0) during the second half of a second-round game in the men's NCAA college basketball tournament in Indianapolis, Sunday, March 19, 2017. Kentucky defeated Wichita State 65-62. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

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Yes, the 2017 NBA Draft’s likely No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz is at the rookie combine. And yes, he’ll interview with the Phoenix Suns, reports ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.

But as the Suns await the draft lottery with the hopes they’ll have a choice to take Fultz, they’ll continue evaluating the players that took part in the measuring, athletic testing and 5-on-5 play at the combine. Fultz was not one of them.

Here are a few things that jumped out to us during Thursday’s NBA Draft Combine and how they might relate to Phoenix.

Measurement concerns?: De’Aaron Fox, an option if the Suns get an unfavorable lottery result, will very likely be the highest-selected player that got measured. He gets mentioned as one of the best athletes in the draft due to his speed, but the point guard’s measurables were not on the freakish scale. While he has the height at 6-foot-3, a wingspan of 6-foot-6.5 is not out of this world (Arizona point guard Kadeem Allen, for example, measured 6-foot-2.25 in shoes with a 6-foot-9.25 wingspan).

Most importantly, Fox weighed in at under 170 pounds, so if he wants to play his hyper-aggressive style defensively or attack the rim, he will need to put on some weight.

— Kellan Olson

The other, other Kentucky guard: Fox and fellow lottery-projected draftee Malik Monk aren’t the only Kentucky guards in this draft. Hamidou Diallo was effectively part of the Kentucky program after he enrolled in January as an eligible player, but he decided not to play. Now, he could be a none-and-done prospect through the same loophole as last year’s draft pick Thon Maker.

He fits the profile of a Ryan McDonough pick if he were to stay in the draft — he’s still 50-50 — and fall to 32nd. Like Archie Goodwin a few years ago, Diallo is a 6-foot-5 guard with freakish athleticism. Listed as the 37th pick in Draft Express’ mock, he has a 6-foot-11.25 wingspan — on par with many bigs — and 44.5-inch max vertical that’s among the best ever tested. The question for Phoenix regarding Diallo: Would a flyer be taken at this point at a position hardly of need? The question for Diallo: Does he have a jumper to complement his slashing game?

— Kevin Zimmerman

Arizona’s Alkins stands out: In our positional preview, we mentioned how shooting guard Rawle Alkins contributed more than expected offensively at Arizona and he proved that again in Thursday’s scrimmage. Yes, he can hit an open three, but Alkins showed he can also run the pick-and-roll. He led all scorers in Thursday’s game with 18 points.

Unfortunately, he measured in under 6-foot-4 with shoes, and as a hybrid wing, that’s very undersized. Testing well in the athletic drills will instill more confidence in teams who might draft him, and a 40.5 inch vertical is a good start.

— Kellan Olson

A lanky and long draft-and-stash?: Jonathan Jeanne, who was mentioned in our positional previews at center, had the NBA Combine we expected. His measurements were off the charts at 7-foot-2 in height and a wingspan of nearly 7-foot-7. In the scrimmage Thursday, he also flashed his potential as an inside-outside threat but looked overwhelmed with the physicality with his 207-pound frame.

— Kellan Olson

A glut of physical bigs: There is a glut of bigs who are less wait-and-see projects than Jeanne but also have impressive physical profiles. A few could fall to the Suns at 32nd. There’s a large selection of physically impressive players starting with UCLA’s Ike Anigbogu (7-foot-6.25 wingspan and 252 pounds), Indiana’s Thomas Bryant (7-foot-6 wingspan and 247 pounds) and Kentucky’s Bam Adebayo (7-foot-2.75 wingspan and 243 pounds at 5.2-percent body fat). The last two are much more likley to fall into Phoenix’s lap.

— Kevin Zimmerman

Answering the Bell: Some players have the style of play to excel in the NBA Combine’s scrimmages and Jordan Bell is one of them. In the first game Thursday, he had 13 points, seven rebounds, five blocks and five assists. An energy big who could play power forward or undersized backup center at under 6-foot-9 with no lengthy wingspan (under 7 feet), Bell is always making the big play on both ends. It’s difficult to see how the projected second-round pick would fit in on the Suns with restricted free agent Alan Williams occupying the spot Bell would likely take on the team, but there’s no doubt he’s a player worth taking a chance on in round two.

— Kellan Olson

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