Former Suns Kempton, Majerle hope Suns can take Josh Jackson

Jun 13, 2017, 2:00 PM | Updated: 3:14 pm
FILE - In this March 25, 2017, file photo, Kansas guard Josh Jackson pass the ball during the secon...
FILE - In this March 25, 2017, file photo, Kansas guard Josh Jackson pass the ball during the second half of a regional final against Oregon in the NCAA college basketball tournament in Kansas City, Mo. The former Kansas basketball player must undergo anger management classes and apologize as part of a diversion agreement arising from a confrontation with a women's basketball player. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner, File)
(AP Photo/Orlin Wagner, File)
LISTEN: Dan Majerle, GCU men's basketball head coach

The Phoenix Suns hold the No. 4 pick in the June 22 NBA Draft, and with that slot they will have plenty of options of top level talent.

This year’s draft doesn’t have that one player that stands out from the rest, creating optimism — and intrigue —  at every pick.

“I don’t think there’s a clear-cut number one,” Suns color analyst Tim Kempton told Doug and Wolf Tuesday on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station. “Whatever you’re looking for, there’s not that guy, there’s not the LeBron James, Kobe Bryant that you know is going to come in right away, you know who are a one-and-done and are going to make your team that much better.”

With so much uncertainty at the top, the Suns could end up in a situation where any prospect falls to them at No. 4 on June 22.

Kempton, along with former Sun and current GCU head coach Dan Majerle, hope Phoenix will be able to take Kansas forward Josh Jackson.

“I think the best player probably is going to be Josh Jackson,” Majerle told Doug and Wolf Tuesday on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station. “Just because his size, how athletic he is, he’s a gym rat, he’s got a high, high motor and I see him coming into the NBA and thing about him right now is his weakness is his shot, but he’s a guy that really going to work on his shot and I think he’s going to become a really good shooter. So his ability to play both ways, his competitiveness, he’s going to be really good.”

In his one season at Kansas, Jackson averaged 16.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3 assists while being named as a Wooden Award finalist.

A forward, Jackson would fill a need for the Suns, bringing length and perimeter defense to work alongside the strengths of Devin Booker and Eric Bledsoe.

“I think Josh Jackson brings some athleticism and defensive presence on the other end of the floor,” Kempton said. “Because we know people are going to go after Devin Booker, make him work on the defensive end, make him work off of screens in that regard to try and see what he can do. So now you throw Josh Jackson out there and let him play the high scoring two or three on the other team and it works well.”

The only problem for the Suns is Jackson may not be available when the Suns pick.

Washington’s Markelle Fultz is expected to go first overall to the Celitcs and with Jackson climbing up draft boards, he has been rumored to be going to the Lakers at No. 2.

That would leave just the Philadelphia 76ers standing between the Suns and UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball, whom some see as a franchise-altering talent..

Many, including Kempton, think Lonzo Ball is destined to go to his hometown Los Angeles Lakers.

“I think anything that’s coming out of the Lakers right now is and I don’t know why they’re sending up a smoke screen, they’ve got the No. 2 pick,” Kempton said “I think they do take him, he’s the lightning rod right now and that’s what they like in LA, they like people talking about them.”

Ball is a true point guard. The former Bruin averaged 14.6 points, 6 rebounds, 7.6 assists a game while being named an All-American.

Ball has slipped on some boards in part to the outlandish comments made by his father, Lavar. Nonetheless, Majerle feels Ball’s play overrides any off the court concerns.

“I’ve had the opportunity to watch Lonzo Ball for four or five straight years now,” Majerle said. “I’ve seen him a lot on the AAU circuit, I think he’s going to be really, really good. I mean his basketball IQ, the way he sees the floor, his size, his speed, the way he passes, when you put him with even better players and pros he’s going to be something special.”

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