If the top three picks of the 2017 NBA Draft go as predicted by the majority of talent evaluators, Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball and Josh Jackson will be off the board by the time the Phoenix Suns pick fourth overall.
What are the Suns looking at should that happen?
Florida State forward Jonathan Isaac, Duke forward Jayson Tatum and Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox all remain possibilities, reports John Gambadoro of 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station.
Fox’s name might be the most surprising of the group. The Kentucky point guard canceled a workout with Phoenix last week, but he did meet with the Suns at the Chicago draft combine. The team also watched him at a pro day afterward, Gambadoro reports.
Despite the Suns being set with Eric Bledsoe at point guard and Tyler Ulis as a backup, Fox is “being highly considered for the fourth pick, along with Isaac, Tatum and Jackson,” Gambadoro said Thursday.
The 6-foot-3, 170-pound Fox averaged 16.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game during his freshman year at Kentucky. Known for his tight handles, defense and blazing speed, he will be tasked with overcoming a jump shot that didn’t drop and gaining enough weight for his defensive instincts to translate at the NBA level.
Fox, who ESPN’s Chad Ford has being drafted by the Suns in his latest mock draft, told Sports Illustrated’s Andrew Sharp he is “intrigued” by potentially playing alongside Devin Booker in Phoenix, where Bledsoe, Ulis and Brandon Knight also make up a backcourt of UK guards.
While Phoenix has not gotten a deeper look at Fox, it has attended workouts and met with Isaac and Tatum. While the Suns have inquired about moving up in the draft — Bill Simmons and Kevin O’Connor at The Ringer floated a potential Suns-Lakers swap on their recent podcast — the asking price has been too high, Gambadoro reports.
Suns general manager Ryan McDonough has publically maintained since the NBA Draft Lottery that he sees an even tier of talent available at the No. 4 spot.
That gives Phoenix the potential to trade down in the draft. A reported Kings trade — Sacramento would move into No. 4 for the fifth and 10th picks — has been floated, and the Suns could potentially move down another spot or two if they got an enticing deal for the fourth pick.
Jackson appeared to be a potential third or fourth pick after the lottery balls were read, but of late, he has threatened Ball to be the No. 2 pick to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Suns worked out Jackson in Sacramento on Wednesday, reports John Gambadoro of 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station. Jackson, widely considered the best two-way talent among the likely top-five picks, also has worked out twice for the Lakers, who pick second.
Gambadoro added Thursday that the Philadelphia 76ers, who select third, will get a look at Jackson.