Phoenix Suns: Ayton outplayed Doncic in first meeting

Phoenix Suns Deandre Ayton (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns Deandre Ayton (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Phoenix Suns rookie Deandre Ayton is sure to have plenty of great battles against Luka Doncic, but he definitely won the first one.

All the talk leading up to the 2018 NBA Draft centered around Deandre Ayton versus Luka Doncic. The Phoenix Suns had the first pick, and we all know they opted for Ayton, but there were plenty of fans that preferred Doncic. Because of that, these two players, at least in the eyes of Suns fans, will be connected to each other throughout their entire careers.

It’s impossible to say after just one game who will have a better career, but there’s no doubt Deandre Ayton outplayed Luka Doncic in their first head to head meeting.

On the Suns first offensive possession, they immediately dumped the ball to Ayton in the post, and he backed down Doncic, spun, scored, got fouled, and made the free throw. It was a fitting that the two would go up against each other right off the bat, and for Ayton supporters, it was poetic justice.

In the box score, Ayton clearly got the better of Doncic. Ayton was 8-11 from the field for 18 points. He also had ten rebounds and six assists. Most importantly, his team won by 21. Doncic shot just 5-16, including 0-5 from three, for ten points. He had eight rebounds and only four assists to go with his four turnovers. He also missed both of his free throw attempts.

But it wasn’t just in the box score. Deandre Ayton legitimately looked like the better player the entire game. His one block didn’t do justice to how well he protected the rim. His high field goal percentage doesn’t show how smooth his jumper really looks. And perhaps importantly, as easy as it is to gloss over zero turnovers, that’s a tremendous feat for someone playing 36 meaningful minutes in their first NBA game.

Doncic, on the other hand, looked slow and, to be quite frank, ordinary. When we expected to see highlight passes and finishes, he had very few exciting plays in his 31 minutes of action. None of that means Doncic won’t have a great career, but he was certainly disappointing in his first game.

Next. Phoenix Suns: Deandre Ayton looks like a big plus on defense. dark

The jury is still out on whether Deandre Ayton was the right pick by the Phoenix Suns, but he easily outplayed Luka Doncic to start off the season.