The basketball world’s worst-kept secret is now official.
The Phoenix Suns selected Deandre Ayton of Arizona with the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft Thursday night, meaning Ayton will play professional basketball roughly two hours north of where he starred in college.
— Phoen1x Šuns (@Suns) June 21, 2018
Phoenix’s selection of Ayton surprised no one. When the Suns won the top pick in the 2018 draft lottery it became a consensus that the team would pick the 7-foot-1 forward. The Suns were the only team to get a pre-draft workout from Ayton.
The addition of Ayton gives Phoenix a nice young nucleus. Suns brass should be optimistic with shooting guard Devin Booker, small forward Josh Jackson and now Ayton, who can play both power forward or center.
The Suns had a league-worst 21-61 record in the 2017-18 season. Ayton’s insertion gives Phoenix a solid low-post presence on offense, and he has the frame and athletic ability to potentially be a good rim protector.
Additionally, Ayton should instantly help spark a sleepy Phoenix fan base. He played prep ball at Hillcrest Prep Academy in Phoenix before heading south to Phoenix for college. His local ties should help put fans in the seats at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
Ayton was confident all along that he was worthy of the No. 1 pick. It’s now official, so he’ll be expected to perform like the top overall draft selection. The Suns desperately need him to.