DeAndre Ayton 2018 NBA Draft Scouting Report
WEIGHT: 250 POUNDS
PROJECTED DRAFT POSITION: TOP 3 PICK (CHANCE TO GO NUMBER 1 OVERALL)
There was once a time when DeAndre Ayton was considered to be the most talented high school basketball in America… and that was before he entered his junior year.
Playing at the 2016 Nike Hoop Summit despite the fact he was only 16 years old, Ayton entrenched himself as the #1 prospect in the country after standing out amongst a group of players who would be selected in the NBA Draft lottery, like Thon Maker and Lauri Markkanen.
At 7’1″ and 250lbs, Ayton is a fascinating hybrid of an “old school” and “new school” big man in the NBA. If you just looked at him from the neck down, you’d be hard-pressed to differentiate him from someone like Patrick Ewing or David Robinson. Ayton is still at his best playing in the low post around the rim, showing the footwork to finish in a variety of ways, and the startling athleticism to finish with a violent dunk at multiple ankles. Despite his overall size, he bounces off his feet with the quickness and explosion of a guy that weighs 50lbs less than him.
But to match today’s space-centric style of NBA basketball, Ayton is also becoming increasingly confident in shooting the ball from the field, thanks to the rapidly-improving jump shot that he’s continuing to develop. His face-up game keeps getting better, as he’s now flashing the ability to shoot the ball as far out as three-point line. If he continues his trajectory, he could become a lethal weapon in the pick-and-roll or pick-and-pop game.
Ayton’s combination of length, athleticism, and willingness to guard players on the perimeter have drawn comparisons to Kevin Garnett. However, the biggest knock on Ayton is that he doesn’t have anything close to the intensity level or overall basketball IQ on the defensive end, as someone like KG. Ayton still hasn’t fully developed his body yet, but that’s to be expected for someone who’s only 19 years old; that will come when he’s part of an NBA program full time.
But for someone with his combination of size and length, the fact that Ayton is averaging less than two blocks per game, and could have one of the lowest block rates of any big man taken in the lottery in recent memory, is a big red flag. His University of Arizona Wildcats often pair Ayton with another true center on the floor; that begets the chicken-and-egg question of whether Ayton isn’t getting blocks because he isn’t the rim protector, or whether the Wildcats have to use a rim protector because they can’t trust him to do so.
In an era where the NBA’s big men like Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Kristaps Porizingis are becoming position-less unicorns, we still know exactly what Ayton brings to the table: a low post presence who can finish around the rim in a variety of ways, or shoot the ball from the field. The most accurate comparison for him might be Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers. But if Ayton can develop into even an above-average rim protector, he has the potential to be an All-NBA selection in his future. Ayton should be a top 3 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. He has a very good shot at going number 1 overall.
PRO’S AND CON’S OF DeANDRE AYTON’S OVERALL GAME
Nice shooting touch
Has all the ingredients to be an NBA All-Star
Can improve his hands
Needs to play hard 100% of the time
Not a very good shot-blocker at this time
BELOW ARE HIGHLIGHTS OF DEANDRE AYTON
Which current NBA player does Ayton remind you of?
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