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Deandre Ayton – 7’1″ Power Forward/Center, University of Arizona, 19 Years Old
In his freshmen year at Arizona, Ayton finished with 20.1 points per game, 11.6 rebounds per game and shot 61 percent from the floor. Ayton led Arizona to the NCAA Tournament, where they captured the 4th seed in the south region. Unfortunately, Arizona’s promising run was halted by Buffalo. After an impressive freshmen year, Ayton declared for the 2018 NBA Draft. Many experts think Ayton will be the first pick and at the very least, a top five talent. In my opinion, he is clearly the best big man in this draft.
Ayton embodies everything you want in a big man. He is strong, athletic, quick, and instinctive. His game easily translated to the NBA. During his time at Arizona, Ayton was very consistent. He finished with 24 double-doubles, which was tied for first in NCAA Men’s Basketball last season. Ayton’s most underrated strength is his durability. He was on the floor most of the time throughout his freshmen year.
Ayton does not have any major weaknesses. He is one of the most polished prospects. But, Ayton does have to remain motivated. It has been noted that Ayton can get bored at times. Also, he has not been fully tested. Ayton has not faced many players who can match his size, strength and quickness. NBA stars such as Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns will provide stiff competition. All three of those players are not only good in the post, but can stretch the floor and knock down mid to long range jump shots, which Ayton will have to learn how to defend.
Ayton’s game resembles the likes of the before-mentioned Embiid and Towns. All three are physical big men who can rebound, play solid defense and score at will. It did not take long for Embiid (despite injury) and Towns to get adjusted to the NBA and impose their will on opponents. If Ayton works hard from day one, he will be fine and be a favorite to win Rookie of the Year.
Ayton will prove to be a very good player. He is the safest pick and the most sure thing. He is only 19 years old. Ayton will fit right in with the modern NBA game. Hus skill sets will easily transfer to the floor. Ayton will become an all-star within the next three years. But, he still has room for improvement. He is only 19 years old. Ayton will be selected by one of the lower-tier NBA teams. If he learns to be patient and mature, the sky is the limit.