PHOENIX SUNS

Will Josh Jackson fall to the Suns in the 2017 NBA Draft? A 76ers beat writer isn’t so sure

May 25, 2017, 5:45 PM | Updated: 6:19 pm

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)...

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

LISTEN: Keith Pompey, Philadelphia Inquirer 76ers beat writer

Assuming the first two picks in the 2017 NBA Draft go as expected, Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball will be off the board.

Then, chaos could follow.

Owners of the third overall pick, the Philadelphia 76ers’ direction remains more of a mystery. It makes draft day more difficult to navigate for the Phoenix Suns, who are armed with the fourth pick.

The Sixers don’t need a point guard and would love a shooter.

But after Fultz and Ball, the top players available on most mock draft boards are neither, Kansas forward Josh Jackson included.

But will Jackson, arguably the third-best prospect, fall past a Sixers team that might not be as good of a fit for the Kansas star as, say, the Suns?

Sixers beat writer Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer wouldn’t bet on it.

“(Kentucky’s) Malik Monk, he fits with what the Sixers need,” Pompey told Burns and Gambo on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station. “They need a shooter to pair with Ben Simmons. However, do you want to take him with the third pick?

“The Sixers are going to do their due diligence, but at the end of the day, I think it’s going to be Josh Jackson.”

Pompey said Philadelphia leaders like general manager Bryan Colangelo and coach Brett Brown have maintained they need shooters to place alongside Simmons, a 6-foot-10 point forward who is expected to lead the offense next season. That might not knick Jackson too much, however.

Jackson is a jumper away from becoming one of the best all-around players in the 2017 draft, and while his form is flawed, he shot 39 percent from deep in his freshman season.

Plus, Pompey said Brown’s commitment to player development might make Jackson’s wonky jumper a fixable thing in the eyes of Philadelphia.

The Sixers said they are approaching their third pick openly. They’ve attended workouts with Monk and late-lottery players like Justin Jackson of North Carolina, looking the part of a team willing to trade down in the draft.

“My only problem with that is, if you trade down, you may not get the guy you want,” Pompey said. “Let’s say you go to six or you go to seven, (Monk) may not be there. He may not be there at number six.”

The likely trajectory for the Sixers, according to Pompey, is keeping the third pick, selecting Josh Jackson and finding a shooter in free agency. Clippers guard J.J. Redick will be a free agent and has been linked to Philadelphia.

“It keeps coming back to Josh Jackson being the best player available then and there (in the draft), and I think it’ll be hard for them to pass up on him,” Pompey said of Philadelphia.

“The Sixers, they have a player development staff and coach Brett Brown is huge on player development. So it’s one of those things where, I think in the end, getting him is going to be too enticing to pass up.”

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