The Phoenix Suns don’t get to re-do the 2018 NBA Draft, but if they could, Deandre Ayton wouldn’t be the correct selection.
Deandre Ayton was not the right pick for the Phoenix Suns at first overall. Don’t get me wrong, he is a talented and skilled big man, but most of the time he either is not hustling or playing soft. I have the same frustration as everyone else, we just wish he would back someone down to the hoop and dunk on them (we miss you Amar’e Stoudemire).
Through Deandre Ayton’s first 29 games, he is averaging: 15.5 points, 2.5 assists, and 10 rebounds per game. Through Luka Doncic’s first 26 games he is averaging: 17.8 points, 4.5 assists, and 6.8 rebounds.
By playing soft and averaging over 2 free throws per game, Ayton has made a lot of fans frustrated. There are even times when Richaun Holmes looks better than Ayton does.
On the other hand, Luke Doncic has been everything the Mavericks could’ve asked and more. He is single-handedly taking over games in the fourth quarter. He has the qualities every number one pick should possess, and he is making all of Dallas a firm believer in him. More importantly, they’re winning, and it looks like they’re having fun doing it too.
Today’s NBA is a shooters league. Offenses spread the floor and force big men away from the paint. Big men who can’t make shots consistently are not as valuable anymore. For example, a guy like Kenyon Martin was vital to a team for mainly rebounding. In today’s NBA, I don’t think Kenyan Martin would see the court.
It was a mistake for this Suns team, which badly needed a ball handler, to pass on a guy like Doncic, the season and finals MVP of a top three basketball league as a teenager. Luka looks like a veteran on the court. He demands the ball in his hands in the final minutes of the game, and you can’t teach that.
Ball handling playmakers in todays game play a larger role in a team’s success comparative to an “old school big.” Luka pushing the tempo with guys on the wing like Booker, Warren, Bridges and Crawford would have been really exciting to watch (thanks Sarver, this is probably your fault too).
Luka Doncic is becoming another playmaking leader the Suns so desperately need but passed on.