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ESPN’s Goodman: Jackson falls to Suns if teams take best pick for them

Kansas guard Josh Jackson (11) drives past TCU forward Karviar Shepherd (32) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lawrence, Kan., Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Because they are picking fourth overall, the Phoenix Suns will not exactly have their choice of prospects in next Thursday’s NBA Draft.

They will land a highly-valued player, of course, just that it’s possible someone they covet will be off the board when they are finally on the clock.

Chances are whoever they select will be talked about as if they were the top player on the board and that they are excited to get him, so we will likely never truly know who the Suns really wanted.

But we can guess, and for the most part, folks seem to think Kansas’ Josh Jackson is the best fit for Phoenix.

Unfortunately, recent buzz has the lanky and athletic forward likely being chosen in the top three — perhaps even first or second — and if that’s the case, barring a trade, his future is not in purple and orange.

But if the draft goes the way ESPN’s Jeff Goodman sees it, it should be.

The basketball writer did not produce a mock draft, rather he provided a blueprint he would follow if he was the GM for every NBA team. So, rather than predict where each player will go, he listed where he believes each should land.

And, according to Goodman, Washington’s Markelle Fultz should go No. 1 to the Celtics, and he should be followed by UCLA’s Lonzo Ball to the Lakers and Duke’s Jayson Tatum to the 76ers.

If things play out like that, it would leave Jackson for the Suns, which is who Goodman would pick if he had any say.

Suns general manager Ryan McDonough might have appeared to be the draft lottery loser, but he’s going to get a quality player no matter who slips to the fourth spot.

Jackson is a tough wing who defends, dishes the ball and displayed an improved perimeter shot the latter part of the season. He’ll fit in well with Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker and TJ Warren.

Reason for the Suns potentially wanting Jackson are obvious: a 6-foot-8 forward with great athleticism and a high motor, he would bring defense as well as playmaking to an organization that could use both. In one season as a Jayhawk, Jackson averaged 16.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1.1 blocks and 1.7 steals per game.

The Suns reportedly got a closer look at Jackson in a workout Wednesday, which at least confirms some level of interest.

Of course, none of that will matter much if Jackson is among the draft’s top three picks. Good news is the drama and speculation will all come to an end shortly, as the draft is slated for Thursday, June 22.

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