Photo by Matt York/AP Photo
“I know I’m going number one.” said an always-confident DeAndre Ayton in a post-workout presser in Phoenix on Wednesday.
The 7’1″, 250-pound University of Arizona product expressed the utmost certainty that the Phoenix Suns will select him number one overall in the 2018 NBA Draft.
When asked what other teams Ayton planned to work out with after his solo workout with Phoenix, he replied, “No one else.” Ayton has been vocal about his desire to play with Devin Booker, Josh Jackson and company in Phoenix since his Arizona Wildcats squad was bounced in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at the hands of 13-seed Buffalo.
The Bahamas native, who first moved to Phoenix to attend Hillcrest Prep Academy as a junior in high school, has found a home in the desert in the last three years. “I love it here. Everyone has been so welcoming and I fell in love with the city right away.” Ayton said of Phoenix.
While Ayton has found happiness in his new home state, a particular rising star and NBA 3-Point Contest champion has caught his eye as a potential teammate. “That’s Shaq and Kobe 2.0. We could really make something happen in Phoenix.” The 19-year old said of Devin Booker, the sharpshooting Sun who scored 24.9 points per game in 54 games in his third NBA season during 2017-18.
Suns GM Ryan McDonough spoke nothing but highly of Ayton following Wednesday’s workout. McDonough told the press that Ayton was “phenomenal” in every situation he was exposed to. The 5th-year Suns general manager said the big man was tested in multiple offensive and defensive scenarios in his hour-long session. McDonough praised him for excelling in each test thrown in his direction, from long-range shooting to guarding pick-and-roll situations.
The top prospect has already built a solid relationship with other Suns players, such as Booker, Jackson, and Marquese Chriss. He told reporters that he plans to watch Game 3 of the NBA Finals with the young gunners of the desert on Wednesday night.
It’s all but safe to say that the signs point to commissioner Adam Silver announcing Ayton as the number one pick to the Phoenix Suns on draft night later this month.