Over the next few days leading up to the 2018 NBA Draft, EndAroundSports will be profiling several NBA prospects that will be selected in the June 21 NBA Draft. Make sure to subscribe to our website to receive email notifications when we post or follow us on twitter (@endaroundsports) to be notified when we post.
After a dominating freshman year at Arizona, Deandre Ayton is heavily predicted to be the 1st overall selection in the 2018 NBA Draft. His combination of quickness and strength, rebounding, and defensive potential could make him the league’s next superstar.
While other facets of Ayton’s game will need development, Ayton’s rebounding ability should carry over to the NBA immediately. Ayton led the Pac-12 in offensive, defensive, and total rebounds, and his 405 total rebounds was 3rd in the NCAA. Ayton had 10 rebounds or more in 24 of his 35 games (68.5%). Not only does Ayton possess great size, but he also has great fundamentals rebounding the basketball that will make an immediate impact for the team that selects Ayton
Ayton is 7’1″ 250-pound animal. He’s got the strength of a 250-pound center, but he possesses great quickness and speed for a center of his size. His speed and explosiveness will allow him to be a rim-runner in today’s NBA. Ayton showed extreme skill in transition, which is emphasized heavily in today’s NBA. Ayton uses his speed in transition and the open floor, but also uses his strenght to not only draw contact, but finish through contact.
Ayton showed promise as a jump shooter this season. In his lone season playing with the college three-point line, Ayton shot 34% from three-point range. Ayton found success on face-ups anywhere from 10-15 feet away, as his ability to shoot a mid-range jumper prohibits defenders to sit back in the paint. Shooting may not be one of Ayton’s biggest strengths, but the ability to shoot, especially as a frontcourt player, is a game-changing ability in today’s NBA.
Ayton mostly played the PF position at Arizona, which gave him many opportunities to guard on the perimeter. Although Ayton possesses the quickness to stay competitive guarding the perimeter, Ayton often allowed his man to get to the basket. Oftentimes, Ayton would follow his man too far back, and oftentimes Ayton would sag off too much. Ayton also had trouble in certain P&R situations from hedging too hard off the screen.
Despite having elite athleticism, Ayton was an average shotblocker because of his inability to help on the drive. When other Arizona defenders were beat, Ayton would either arrive late to the basket or not help on the drive. If Ayton played better help defense, his shot blocking numbers would’ve been better.
Pro Comparison: Karl-Anthony Towns
Both Towns and Ayton posses elite speed and strength at the center position, which makes them nightmares to guard. Both have the ability to score inside or outside and are elite rebounders. Ayton does have a little Joel Embiid in him because of his ability to bully defenders in the paint, but Towns compares to Ayton better because of the speed and strength combo that both contain.