Shmackem: Who ya got? NBA Draft special

Kristopher Nichols
June 24, 2018

Ayton flashed his huge potential and later that summer moved to San Diego to attend Balboa City School.

Ayton, the 7-foot center who starred as a freshman at Arizona, was selected with the first overall pick by the Phoenix Suns, who kicked off the National Basketball Association draft at Barclays Center in NY with a selection that was widely expected entering Thursday night.

The Phoenix Suns' first pick, Deandre Ayton, and 31st pick, Elie Okobo, talk after the Suns press conference.

Scouts had Porter going as high as first overall, with some projecting him to be picked by the Sacramento Kings at second even after the back injury. Maybe my sports expectations are too high for a Disney-owned company, and maybe the point of the show is to be just that, a show. Evidently Porter's medical history scared off enough teams to where he had to sit and watch each lottery pick go by without hearing his name called. "I saw the reaction on my mom's face and it was just priceless".

Aside from drafting Ayton, the Suns also drafted Zhaire Smith who was then subsequently traded to Philadelphia for Mikal Bridges, a three-and-D player. It all comes down to the uncertain futures of LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard, two of the league's top-five players, as well as salary cap caution that continues to be the fallout of the disastrous summer of 2016, which saw many teams splash cash around in weird fashion.

Sixers star Joel Embiid, always a presence on Twitter, laughed off any defensive comparisons of Ayton to him.

The NBA teams' reasoning for avoiding Landale in the draft was because he lacks the athleticism to switch ball screens or defend the rim.

"Most definitely", he said.

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They started what could be an early run of big men in what's increasingly become a perimeter-based league. The Suns are clearly enthralled with the idea of having a dominant big man down low to build their team around. His 24 double-doubles tied for the second-most ever by a freshman in Division I history. However, Ayton still has significant weaknesses at the other end of the floor.

Ayton won't have to get adjusted to his new zip code. A University of Arizona player returning home.

His only pre-draft workout was with the Suns, and afterward, he expressed confidence in his standing.

Ayton boasts impressive physical tools, as his 7-foot-1 frame, 7-foot-6 wingspan and 9-foot-3 standing reach would indicate.

In the least surprising outcome of the draft, Ayton led things off by landing in Phoenix and he'll be in a fantastic Rookie of the Year situation, to the point where betting markets see him as the favorite.

"I embrace it a lot". The Suns needed a center to pair with franchise cornertsone Devin Booker and they did just that. I think they have one of the best young coaches in Eric Spoelstra.

Ayton's tenure with the Wildcats wasn't without controversy. During his one season in Tucson, the 19-year-old was a Consensus First Team All-America selection and won the 2018 Karl Malone Award given to the nation's best power forward. But for a small portion of the draft, we got to entertain the thought of Bridges, a Villanova product and Pennsylvania native, playing in front of 76ers fans.

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