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Sixty-eight days have passed since the Suns closed out the regular season. Thirty-three have passed since the NBA draft lottery, which gave Phoenix the fourth pick.

After all the speculation and rumors, the end almost is here. Which direction will Phoenix go? The Suns will have one last draft workout Monday and then finalize their draft board for next Thursday’s event in Brooklyn.

“At the very beginning you start with a super wide net with hundreds of players and it’s a constant narrowing process, kind of like a funnel,” Suns Assistant General Manager Pat Connelly said. “We’re kind of reaching the end of the funnel at this point in terms of guys we’ll really consider for our different picks.”

In addition to the fourth pick, the Suns also have the 32nd and 54th overall selections, but all the debate and attention the past two months have focused on their first-round intentions. For an organization that has not made the playoffs in seven years, one that has urged patience through a painful rebuild, this is an important foundation step.

Not much has changed. The Suns still are expected to choose from a group that includes Kansas forward Josh Jackson, Duke forward Jayson Tatum, Florida State forward Jonathan Isaac and Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox.

A wildcard:

UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball could join the mix if the Lakers decide to go a different direction at No. 2, as some suggest they might. ESPN.com recently reported that Ball – who as of Friday had worked out only for the Lakers – might be open to talking with other teams.

If so, the Suns would welcome the opportunity. Ball is considered the best passer to enter the draft in years. Some consider him a can’t-miss prospect simply because of his ability to make teammates better.

The Suns also could trade up or down – national reports have linked them to such a possibility – but that’s true of nearly every team. With two-second round picks as well as Miami’s 2018 and 2021 first-round picks, the Suns have assets to dangle should General Manager Ryan McDonough decide to go that direction.

ESPN draft analyst Fran Fraschilla envisions the Boston Celtics taking Washington guard Markelle Fultz with the first pick and the Lakers selecting Ball at No. 2. Philadelphia’s intentions at No. 3 remain a mystery (reports surfaced Friday that the 76ers are trying to acquire Boston’s No. 1 spot) but either way, Fraschilla thinks the Suns are in a good spot.

“Given where they are with their team and the way the backcourt played this year, they’re going to have a great opportunity at either Josh Jackson, Jayson Tatum or Jonathan Isaac,” he said. “All three of those guys would fill a need.”

Both Tatum and Jackson are talented enough to become first-year starters, albeit for different reasons. The 6-8 Tatum is among the draft’s most skilled offensive players, especially in the mid-range, while the 6-8 Jackson might be the draft’s best perimeter defender.

At 6-11, Isaac has tools that every team covets – most notably the skills to defend multiple positions – but his NBA adjustment might require more time. The Suns watched the Florida State product workout in Las Vegas and later hosted him in Phoenix.

McDonough has not talked to media throughout the workout process, but after the draft lottery he said the Suns would take the best player on the board, regardless of position. This puts Fox in play.

The Kentucky product did not work out or meet with the Suns in Phoenix, but the Suns visited with Fox at the NBA combine in Chicago and also attended Fox’s agency pro day. They have the point guard’s medical information and feel comfortable with where they are with him.

In addition to elite athletic ability, Fox has defensive potential that could help the Suns, who last season ranked among the league’s worst defensive teams. In a draft stocked with point guards, some experts rank Fox ahead of Ball.

BICKLEY: Lonzo Ball just changed the game

RELATED: NBA mock draft roundup: Who will the Suns take at No. 4?

MORE: LaVar Ball won’t affect whether Suns draft Lonzo Ball, Ryan McDonough says

Contact Doug Haller at 602-444-4949 or at [email protected] Follow him at Twitter.com/DougHaller.

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