The story is written. The only part left to determine is the lede.
The Phoenix Suns won the lottery Tuesday, landing the first-overall pick in the upcoming 2018 NBA Draft. Arizona star forward Deandre Ayton, who averaged 20.1 points and 11.6 rebounds per game in 2017-18, is widely believed to be the first player taken in such draft.
That would pair the consensus All-American Ayton with the Suns, keeping him in the Copper State. Curious how that might look on draft night? Well…
— Deandre Ayton (@DeandreAyton) May 16, 2018
After the Suns come the Sacramento Kings, Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks to round out the top five. The only hat Ayton isn’t holding in that photo is of the Kings, who’ve been mired in mediocrity since the glory days of Chris Webber, Peja Stojakovic, Mike Bibby and Vlade Divac.
The lottery went chalk at No. 1, awarding the top pick to the league’s worst team in Phoenix. But the Suns have some young talent already on the roster, led by 21-year-old guard Devin Booker. Ayton’s potential arrival could spark a turnaround rather quickly.
The collection of hats also makes one wonder, how many photos and hat combinations did Ayton take? Where was this photoshoot staged? Who provided the hats? Does Ayton have a folder filled with photos of him wearing a Kings hat, or a Mavericks hat, or a Cleveland Cavaliers hat, or even…a New York Knicks hat? (UPDATE: A quick scan of Getty Images’ site shows Ayton participated in the photoshoot at The Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, Ill., just before the lottery, and those hats appear to have been provided. No, Kings fans, they didn’t include your team.)
Do any of these questions matter? Nope. But it’s fun to wonder and speculate, considering that’s all we’ll be doing concerning Ayton (and Luka Doncic, Marvin Bagley, Michael Porter Jr., Trae Young, Collin Sexton and others) for the next month. Yep, that’s right, buckle your seatbelts — IT’S MOCK DRAFT SEASON.