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ESPN’s Chad Ford: Suns could trade out of NBA Draft lottery for younger vet

Washington forward Marquese Chriss (0) drives around Stanford's Michael Humphrey, left, and Rosco Allen, center, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

LISTEN: Chad Ford, ESPN NBA Insider

ESPN’s Chad Ford is among several prominent mock draft makers who forsee the Phoenix Suns drafting Washington’s Marquese Chriss  this Thursday.

Put an asterisk next to that guess.

Phoenix could instead maneuver around the NBA Draft lottery, and Ford said recent history makes him hesitant to believe the Suns will hold that No. 4 pick tight.

Ford believes Chriss has the most upside outside Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram, but he isn’t confident the Suns will take the 18-year-old forward.

“He’s not as NBA-ready as the rest of the prospects the Suns are going to be looking at,” Ford told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s Burns and Gambo show. “The only thing that makes me question Phoenix taking him at four is that they’ve not been very patient. (Suns owner) Robert Sarver has not been very patient in the past and Marquese Chriss, of all the guys they could select, you’re going to have to be patient with.”

If the Suns really aren’t willing to wait on a rookie to develop, Ford believes they very well could trade out of the No. 4 spot.

While trading down a couple of spots might not net a huge return, it’s possible Phoenix would be happy trading one or both of their lottery picks.

“From everything that I’m hearing, Phoenix is talking to a lot of teams about a lot of things that would have them maybe moving No. 4, to move out of the draft completely and get a youngish veteran that can come in and contribute right now,” Ford said. “Again, Robert Sarver is not a patient man, has not shown that he’s been willing to stick with a plan for very long.

“I think if they can turn this No. 4 pick into a guy who is an immediate contributor, who is young enough to really fit the direction the Suns are going, they’re willing to do that.”

Phoenix will have competition if that’s the direction they’re heading.

Ford believes Minnesota (fifth), New Orleans (sixth) and Sacramento (eighth) are all considering the same thing.

He also doesn’t believe the Suns can move down a few spots and get much of a return in the form of young players because of the parity in the draft.

“The bigger value will come from a team that’s outside the top-8 that really covets a Kris Dunn or really covets a Dragan Bender,” Ford said. “They’re willing to give a guy that’s either an established All-Star or borderline All-Star.

“I think that is a much more likely scenario for Phoenix than they move down a few spots.”

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