After a month of rumors and speculation, the Phoenix Suns made it official Thursday evening selecting Kansas wing Josh Jackson with the fourth overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft.
With the 4th pick, the Suns select Josh Jackson! pic.twitter.com/KKdlBKq7Ts
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) June 23, 2017
After initial fan disappointment when the Suns, who had the second-worst record in the NBA last season (24-58), slipped out of the top two of the draft lottery, Phoenix landed a much-needed wing defender who could slide into a starting role as a rookie this season.
— Sports360AZ (@Sports360AZ) June 23, 2017
“I’m pretty excited to be a Phoenix Sun, I know they’re a pretty young team,” Jackson said shortly after the selection. “Coming in I think we can learn a lot together, and over the years we can be something really special and just being able to grow together. I think that will make our team chemistry a lot better.”
An early entry draft candidate, the California native was a 2017 Wooden All-America selection and the Big 12 Freshman of the Year after finishing second on the Jayhawks in scoring (16.3 points per game). Jackson broke or tied four KU freshman records: double-doubles (13), field goals made (220), field goals attempted (429) and rebounds (258). He also led Kansas in steals (57) and blocked shots (37).
“I think I bring toughness, versatility, being able to guard 1 through 4 on the defensive end and also be able to play 1 through 4 on the offensive end,” Jackson said. “As I watch today’s NBA basketball, versatility is probably the most important thing in the league today. I think it’ll be real special.”
He picked Kansas over Arizona and Michigan State following a highly decorated prep career. As a senior at Prolific Prep (while attending Justin-Siena High School), the 6-foot-8, 207-pounder averaged 26.9 points, 13.1 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game.