Former Kansas guard Josh Jackson proved to be the Phoenix Suns’ good luck charm on Tuesday at the NBA Draft lottery in Chicago.
Jackson, wearing a beige suit and black bow tie, was the Suns’ representative at the lottery — one in which Phoenix, for the first time in team history, snared the No. 1 overall pick.
“I’ve never been that nervous before,” Jackson told The Arizona Republic when asked his emotions as the Suns’ envelope was last opened by NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum.
Jackson was asked by the Republic to account for his and the team’s good fortune. Of course Phoenix, which had the worst record in the NBA (21-61), did have the best odds of any team of winning the lottery and landing the No. 1 pick. That would be a 25 percent chance of winning compared to Memphis at 19.9 percent, Dallas at 13.8 percent, Atlanta at 13.7 percent and Orlando at 8.8 percent.
“I brought Jazmyne along with me,” Jackson said with a smile.
He was referring to 9-year-old Jazmyne Weber, a Suns fan who battles spina bifida. The Suns flew the youngster, her mom and 12-year-old sister to Chicago with Jackson for the lottery. They took a tour of Chicago before the NBA proceedings.
The former Jayhawks player from Detroit added: “I got on my lucky underwear. I feel like every time I wear these … they are like ‘money print.’ Every time I wear ‘em I find money or something. I labeled ‘em my lucky underwear,” Jackson added, smiling.
The Suns picked fourth in each of the last two seasons, taking Jackson at No. 4 overall last year. On Tuesday, the lottery results were Phoenix at No. 1, followed by Sacramento, Atlanta, Memphis, Dallas, Orlando, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, Philadelphia, Charlotte, LA Clippers, again the Clippers and Denver.
Phoenix is expected to use its No. 1 pick on either Arizona freshman center Deandre Ayton or Slovenian guard Luka Doncik.
“For us, for the Phoenix Suns, I would like to see us get a big man,” Jackson said to the Republic. “I think the best big man in the draft is Deandre Ayton. This is a guy who I think has so much potential. His ceiling is through the roof.”
The 6-foot-8 Jackson averaged 13.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists a game his rookie season with the Suns. He hit 41.7 percent of his shots including 26.3 percent from three and 63.4 percent from the line.