DeAndre Ayton– Arizona
CPP Big Board Ranking: #2 Overall (#2 C)
Weight: 243 lbs
Age/Birthday: 19 (7/23/98)
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ
High School: Hillcrest Prep
(Jonathan Gee – 1/19/18)
DeAndre Ayton came into his freshman season at Arizona as one of the most intriguing NBA prospects in the league, and has not disappointed. Despite his team’s rough start to the season, Arizona has seemed to find their stride as they currently sit atop the Pac-12 standings at 5-1 and 15-4 overall. DeAndre leads his team in scoring at 20.2 points per game, as well as rebounding with 11.3 a game. Clearly a double-double machine, Ayton has already totalled 13 double-doubles just over half-way through his freshman season. Sean Miller pushes his talented freshman to his max as Ayton logs the second most minutes on his team at 33 per game. In those 33 minutes, DeAndre leads his team in shooting percentage at an incredible rate of 64%, and despite only attempting 24 three’s on the season, Ayton is shooting 33% from long distance.
Strengths: Obviously, the sheer size of DeAndre Ayton is one of the most intriguing pieces of his game, but what is even more impressive is the skill set he possesses at his size. At 7’0” tall and 243 pounds, Ayton’s wingspan reaches 7’5”, which has NBA scouts drooling. What has them even more obsessed with DeAndre is his mobility and coordination. Despite being one of the biggest players in all of college basketball, he has no trouble running the floor and scoring in transition with his impressive footwork and agility. Another strength of Ayton’s game is his ability to score from all areas on the floor. As already stated, DeAndre is shooting 64% on field goals, as well as 33% from behind the arc. In addition, Ayton is also a solid free throw shooter at 72% this season, which makes guarding him that much more difficult of a task.
Weaknesses: Writing about the weaknesses of DeAndre is almost as difficult of a task as guarding him. Although there are areas he should certainly improve upon before the next level, Ayton is probably the most NBA-ready player of this upcoming draft class. The major keys to his game that Ayton should work on perfecting between now and the draft would be his defense and jump shot. Although a solid collegiate defender, DeAndre will certainly need to polish his skills before going head to head with guys like Anthony Davis. At times he struggles with leaving his feet too much and being overly aggressive on the defensive end. As far as his shooting, Ayton is very skilled at 7’0” and hitting a third of his shots behind the arc, but similarly to his defense, could certainly be improved before the next level. His three-point shot looks solid, but he could definitely build upon his mid-range game, which would only make his scoring arsenal that much more lethal.
Player Outlook: It really is difficult to picture DeAndre Ayton not being one of the first few players selected in the 2018 NBA draft. He is as special as players come with his size, motor, and pure skill. Whichever coaching staff is lucky enough to obtain him will have very little work on their hands in developing him into and NBA style player. With all the potential in the world, DeAndre Ayton could be one of the next best bigs within his first few professional seasons.
NBA Comparison: Karl-Anthony Towns/Kevin Garnett
DeAndre Ayton really is difficult to compare, because of his freakish abilities at his size. The first comparison to Karl-Anthony Towns is due to the athletic ability they both hold at seven feet tall. Towns is one of, if not the most skilled big men in the NBA. Like Ayton, Towns can score from anywhere on the floor, is talented in transition, and is incredible above the rim.
On the other hand, it is hard not to compare KG to Ayton with their statistics coming into the league being so similarly impressive. Both are natural scorers, rebounders, and shot blockers. It will be interesting to see if Ayton will be able to develop and perfect his skill set to be placed in the same group of great bigs as KAT and KG.
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