Ayton replied that he's no ordinary center. Talk about awkward. Anything the Cavs do to retain The King will likely include packaging their newest draft pick in a trade for another star, just like they did with Andrew Wiggins in 2014. Suns general manager Ryan McDonough didn't exactly hide his intentions, either. Then there are others who might be on a 50-win team for the next few years but as a role player.
The NBA values defense, but it's not defensive-minded teams that are winning. "We think Deandre has that kind of potential".
Ayton, who played at Hillcrest Prep Academy in Phoenix, averaged 20.1 points per game last year for the Arizona Wildcats, earning him Pac-12 Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors in his only season in college basketball before declaring for the draft. The 6-2, 180-pound guard scored a career-high 44 points including eight three-pointers on May 23 against top-seeded Monaco in the first round of playoffs.
The Alabama product isn't the worst pick for Cleveland, but there were more talented players on the board (Gilgeous-Alexander, for one) at No. 8.
It also represented the first No 1 pick made by the Suns in franchise history and the first No 1 pick from the University of Arizona. The first five players picked on Thursday are still teenagers.
They also emerged from the draft with Mikal Bridges, the 10th overall selection, but paid a dear price to do so, being forced to part with the No. 16 pick in this year's draft as well as a potentially valuable first round pick from the Miami Heat in 2021 that is unprotected.
Bridges' upside as a 3-and-D wing may make it worthwhile for Phoenix, though. The Call of Duty franchise is no stranger to this practice and often works with National Basketball Association players to pormote the yearly release of the popular first person shooter.
Suns general manager Ryan McDonough called it "a historic night for the franchise".
On defence, Bridges should provide an instant boost to a unit that ranked 30th league-wide last season.
In Ayton, the Suns received an instant upgrade to a front court that last season saw soon-to-be 36-year-old Tyson Chandler as its steadiest producer.
In Ayton, Bridges and Okobo, Phoenix has three more pieces to add to its young foundation.
For reference on that, my final mock draft had 10 of the top 14 picks correct, and all 14 of the players featured within were placed within the top 14. And while there may always be some skepticism of European players because Darko Milicic bombed so badly after being taken right behind LeBron James and ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade 15 years ago, it would be a surprise if Doncic failed after all he's already done. On Thursday, the Mavericks seemed to have found what they are looking for in Slovenian Luka Doncic. Marcus Smart or Dante Exum, for instance, are both two-way players young enough to grow alongside Phoenix's core, while Fred VanVleet showed promising flashes in Toronto this past season.