Phoenix Suns: Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas
The Suns were one of the biggest losers during the draft lottery on Tuesday night, but landing the fourth pick is a decent consolation prize. At this spot they could be in position to land the player many have as the top talent in this draft. Jackson, a bouncy, uber-athletic wing out of Kansas, would be a steal at No. 4.
With Devin Booker and Eric Bledsoe entrenched in the backcourt and Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender and Alex Len in the frontcourt, Phoenix has some great young pieces. A two-way wing like Jackson would complete that collection of young talent.
T.J. Warren is only 23 and currently occupies the small forward spot, but Jackson will be far better in the long run. Warren can man the spot for now while the raw Jackson develops, but eventually the 20-year-old would take over, giving the Suns one of the league’s best young cores.
Sacramento Kings: De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky
The Kings currently have a young core that consists of Willie Cauley-Stein, Buddy Hield and Skal Labissiere. Now they need a point guard to bring it all together. Enter De’Aaron Fox who has an incredibly high ceiling and is one of the best defenders in the draft. If he’s on the board at No. 5, this should be a no-brainer.
Fox has work to do as a point guard, as he turns the ball over too much, but he’s so quick when penetrating that he opens up the floor for teammates. He’s a solid passer, has good court vision and though he’s only 6’3″ can finish at the rim thanks to his fantastic athleticism and long arms. Fox’s biggest issue is his jumper, which needs a lot of work, but he’s just 19 years old and has the makings of a star in the backcourt.
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New York Knicks: Frank Ntilikina, PG, France
The Knicks need to secure a long-term answer at point guard and while several options will be on the table, Frank Ntilikina fits exactly what Phil Jackson loves at the position. The 18-year-old Frenchman is a pass-first point man who is lightning quick, an excellent defender and has plenty of international experience. Sounds like the perfect guy to select at No. 8 and pair with Kristaps Porzingis, right?
Ntilikina’s jumper needs work and he can be passive at times, but he’s still developing and should be fine in the long run. He’s 6’5″ (Jackson loves tall point guards) has a massive wingspan — which helps him when finishing and defending — and he can get to the rim with ease. As with any 18-year-old he must add strength and size, but watching him play is fun. Crowds at the Garden would love his flashiness. He’s also a willing defender, a huge plus in the modern NBA that is so point guard driven.