Published: Sat, June 23, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

NBA Draft: Phoenix Suns Select Deandre Ayton As #1 Pick

NBA Draft: Phoenix Suns Select Deandre Ayton As #1 Pick

"Having my name called being the first pick for the Phoenix Suns was mind-blowing", he said. But while the Suns accomplished that goal, it may not be immediately reflected in their record next season. With the Suns taking Ayton with the top pick, the Kings had their chance to shore up their backcourt for the foreseeable future alongside De'Aaron Fox and move another step closer to relevancy.

Ayton previously mentioned the prospects of teaming with Booker to create one of the league's most dynamic tandems.

He will instantly bring competitiveness, intensity and most importantly spacing to Phoenix next year, and will give the Suns a viable option down low - something that has been missing since Amare Stoudamire left the franchise. That can only happen when teams decide to play it safe and decide not to move around the board. By now, we are all aware of the ongoing narrative that Ayton is a poor defender, which in all honesty I feel is overstated. Which ones did we think made less sense?

They finished the 2017-18 season 21-61 but return a promising young core led by rising star guard Devin Booker who averaged almost 25 points per game a year ago.

Concerns linger about Ayton's defensive acumen, but he spent much of his time at Arizona playing out of position next to Dusan Ristic.

Deandre Ayton is now the second Bahamian player to go No.1, since 1978 when Mychal Thompson was the only other player to go No.1 from the Bahamas. Grayson Allen went in the first round, for example, while De'Anthony Melton did not.

The green room prospects have posed on stage for their traditional class photo and a few, including expected top-five picks Deandre Ayton and Luka Doncic, are sporting traditional navy suits.

The Atlantic Coast Conference, which tied its record with nine NCAA Tournament teams earlier this year, had the most players selected in the first round of the National Basketball Association draft: six players.

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The NBA Draft has come and gone.

There are players that were drafted high that might not be apart of a winning franchise.

Bridges' upside as a 3-and-D wing may make it worthwhile for Phoenix, though. He played in all 104 games, playoffs included, last season and averaged 34.0 points in the playoffs. Lining up Bridges opposite Booker will be risky for opposing teams.

After Bridges, Final Four Most Outstanding Player Donte DiVincenzo went to Milwaukee at No. 17 and Omari Spellman to Atlanta at No. 30, giving Villanova three first-round picks for the first time.

The Suns now have a glaring hole at the point, as Elfrid Payton is soon to be a restricted free agent and Brandon Knight is recovering from a torn ACL.

Bridges, a versatile defender and knockdown three-point shooter, won the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award in 2017-18 while helping Villanova win their second NCAA Championship in his three seasons at the school.

Now the focus shifts to free agency, where the Suns "will be players" with between $15-$20 million in salary cap space, according to McDonough.

Doncic would fill that void and them some. At worst, he should pair well with the other talented young players on Phoenix's roster.

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