Latest Yahoo! mock draft projects Suns will take Josh Jackson

Mar 23, 2017, 11:42 AM | Updated: Apr 14, 2017, 12:56 pm
Kansas guard Josh Jackson (11) salutes his teammates after a three-point basket during the second h...
Kansas guard Josh Jackson (11) salutes his teammates after a three-point basket during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor in Lawrence, Kan., Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. Jackson scored 23 points in the game. Kansas defeated Baylor 73-68. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
(AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

In a draft class touted for its considerable selection of point guards, The Vertical’s Jonathan Givony has the Phoenix Suns going a different route in his latest mock draft.

Givony projects the Suns to take Kansas forward Josh Jackson with the third pick in the 2017 NBA draft. With 11 games left on the schedule, the Suns (22-49) are below the Lakers and Celtics (via Brooklyn) in the draft order, though the lottery can change that arrangement.

Givony thinks Jackson, a 6-foot-8, 203-pound freshman, provides exactly what the Suns need at the forward position.

The Suns could use an injection of toughness, unselfishness, athleticism and defensive intensity on the wing. Jackson provides all of those things, as well as positional versatility with the ability to operate anywhere from shooting guard to power forward. His red-hot shooting over the past two months has eased some of the concerns about his lack of range, which is considered the biggest flaw in his profile.

The Suns small forward position certainly looks to have some space. The team traded regular starter P.J. Tucker at the trade deadline, leaving T.J. Warren and Jared Dudley as the designated 3’s on the roster.

Other draft writers and analysts have given similar projections to Yahoo. CBS’s Howard Megdal, FanSided’s Chris Stone and DraftExpress all have Jackson going to Phoenix in their most recent mocks.

Jackson, a native of Detroit, is averaging 16.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game for the Jayhawks while shooting 51.7 percent from the floor and 38.6 percent from three. He picked up his shooting when Big 12 play started, hitting 43.5 percent from behind the arc during the conference schedule. Kansas will face Purdue in the NCAA Sweet 16 on Thursday night.

Jackson may go into draft day with a bit of off-court baggage. On Feb. 24, Jackson was charged with one count of misdemeanor property damage after kicking the door and taillight of a car belonging to a Kansas women’s basketball player. An affidavit released the day before the NCAA tournament alleges Jackson threatened to beat the player during the Dec. 9 incident.

Whether Jackson’s legal problem will deter the Suns, or any other team, from drafting him remains to be seen. Analyst consensus seems to be that Phoenix is the place for the highly touted forward to begin his NBA journey.

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Latest Yahoo! mock draft projects Suns will take Josh Jackson