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ESPN’s Ford and Pelton have Suns selecting Ben Simmons No. 1 in mock draft

FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016 file photo, LSU's Ben Simmons drives to the basket against Auburn in the first half of their NCAA college basketball game in Auburn, Ala. The projected top two picks of 2016's NBA draft are both freshmen. But Simmons didn't even get a sniff of March Madness. And Brandon Ingram of Duke didn't make it past the Sweet 16. (Todd J. Van Emst/Opelika-Auburn News via AP, File)

There’s not a lot that can make up for one of the worst seasons in franchise history, but something that could at least help soften the blow for Phoenix Suns fans would be winning the NBA Draft Lottery on May 17.

If the Suns hit on their 11.9 percent chance at the first overall selection, it would be their first time ever picking at the top spot.

ESPN’s Chad Ford and Kevin Pelton are running through possible lottery scenarios with their own mini mock drafts, and up at No. 1 most recently was the Suns.

Pelton has a strong argument against the current point guard situation in Phoenix that favors a selection of LSU power forward Ben Simmons.

The answer to Phoenix’s dilemma at point guard — Eric Bledsoe or Brandon Knight? — might be taking the ball out of both players’ hands and giving it to Simmons in a point forward role.

If new Suns coach Earl Watson could build cohesion with a young lineup, Phoenix would have good passers at several spots. And Simmons would step into the open spot at power forward vacated by the departed Markieff Morris.

The 6-foot-10, 240-pound 19-year-old averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game in his freshman season at LSU.

Simmons was very effective as a scorer in college, shooting 56 percent from the field on just under 12 field goal attempts per game.

As Pelton notes, the Suns have space available at power forward after trading Morris, and Mirza Teletovic and Jon Leuer are unrestricted free agents.

Ford rates Simmons No. 1 overall as well and still has him going to Phoenix, but considers the fit for Duke small forward Brandon Ingram.

However, if I could make a case for a team picking Ingram over Simmons, the Suns would be a good scenario. They could easily play him at the 4 and create a great spread offense with Bledsoe, Knight, Devin Booker and Ingram. Tough call.

Ingram’s effectiveness from 3-point range showed in his one and only season at Duke. He shot 41 percent from deep on 5.4 attempts per game and that contributed greatly to his team-leading 17.3 points per game.

His 6-foot-10 height and 7-foot-3 wingspan would be enough to contribute at the power forward position in the NBA, but his 196-pound frame needs time to grow.

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