Despite bad lottery luck, the Suns still might get the guy they want in the NBA Draft

Despite bad lottery luck, the Suns still might get the guy they want in the NBA Draft
Posted at 3:45 PM, May 17, 2017

Since Tuesday night, Phoenix Suns fans have lamented their team's awful luck (again) after they dropped two spots to the No. 4 overall pick in the next month's NBA Draft.

It's one of the reasons why three-quarters of Suns fans believe the NBA Draft Lottery is rigged, according to an ABC15 Sports Twitter poll conducted after Tuesday's NBA Draft Lottery.

But whether the fix is in or it's a simple matter of misfortune, everything might work out just the way the Suns wanted all along.

Before Tuesday's lottery, most NBA Draft experts projected the Suns taking Kansas forward Josh Jackson with what would have been the No. 2 overall pick. Jackson was the nation's top high-school recruit in 2016, and he chose to play at Kansas ahead of offers from Arizona and Michigan State. The 6-foot-8, 207-pounder averaged 16.3 points and 7.3 rebounds while shooting 51.3 percent from the field in his one and only season with the Jayhawks.

Of course, those expert projections have been adjusted since the lottery took place.

Except, for the Suns, they really haven't.

Indeed, most mock drafts conducted since the lottery still have the Suns taking Jackson, except with the No. 4 pick instead of No. 2. 

It's easy to understand why: Jackson could be considered the most talented all-around player in this year's draft (with the possible exception of point guard Markelle Fultz), and as a small forward, he'd fill a position of need for a Suns team that's already set at both guard positions (Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker), as well as power forward (Marquese Chriss).

"The Suns should be giddy if they land Jackson here as a sidekick for Devin Booker," writes Sports IIlustrated's Jeremy Woo, who predicts that will indeed happen. "He's one of the best defenders in the class, physically ready to contribute, and a consistent jumper away from growing into a tremendous player.

"After doubling down on big men a year ago, Jackson fills a hole for Phoenix at small forward and could give Booker quality defensive cover for the next decade. This feels like a natural fit."

Woo isn't alone in his thinking, as experts at ESPN, Sporting News and USA TODAY have all predicted Jackson to the Suns since Tuesday night.

With the Cetlics and Lakers likely taking Fultz and Lonzo Ball, respectively, with picks No. 1 and 2, only the 76ers would stand in the way of the Suns drafting Jackson at pick No. 3. But most experts have the Sixers grabbing Duke forward Jayson Tatum with that pick.

So, even with all the weeping and gnashing of teeth among Suns fans since Tuesday's unlucky lottery, everything might work out the way the Suns wanted. Either way, we'll know the Suns' fate soon, as the 2017 NBA Draft is set for Thursday, June 22.