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Who Will Be Taken First Overall In The NBA Draft?

DeAndre Ayton poses for a portrait before the NBA basketball draft lottery

The lottery is officially behind us and now we can start counting down the days until the NBA draft. The Phoenix Suns landed the first overall pick and seemingly have the choice between either Arizona standout Deandre Ayton or European stud Luka Doncic.

Oddsmakers expect Ayton to hear his name called first with the big man coming in at -285. Close behind is Doncic at +175.

Let’s take a look at why these two young guns have a legitimate chance to hear their name called first in the upcoming NBA draft.

Why DeAndre Ayton Should Go First Overall

Ayton is a physical freak who dominated offensively in college. The seven-foot-one center averaged 20.1 points and 11.6 rebounds per game for Arizona while showing an inside-out game that makes him the perfect fit for the modern NBA. He steps into the NBA and on Day 1 he is one of the most athletic centers in the league, causing nothing but matchup problems for opposing bigs.

Defensively, Ayton is a work-in-progress. Despite his immense size, he wasn’t especially good at racking up blocks or being a stopper down low. On top of that, he seemed to check out at times with the Wildcats but he was basically unstoppable when he turned it on.

All things considered, Ayton has all the tools to be – at least – a dominant offensive force in the league. The center has legit generational talent to become one of the best players in the NBA. Rarely does a talent like Ayton come along and it would be hard to pass him up.

Why Luka Doncic Should Go First Overall

There is a real argument to be made that Doncic is the best European prospect to ever enter the NBA draft. Despite being just 19 years old, he averaged 14.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists while playing 25 minutes per game in the second-best league in the world. In addition, he comes in at six-foot-eight and 220 pounds at the guard position, while still possessing some great handles.

Doncic is not an elite-level athlete, which has led some to theorize that he may struggle against the top athletes at the guard position in the NBA. That might limit his overall ceiling, making him “just” a capable, decade-long starter at the NBA level.

The Slovenian is simply too good at seemingly everything to not succeed in the NBA. He has the size, basketball IQ and complete game to be a starter for years to come. And though maybe Doncic won’t become a face-of-the-franchise type of player, there is something special about knowing exactly what you are getting in the draft.

Will Anyone Other Than Ayton Or Doncic Go First Overall?

Nothing is impossible – but it would take a near miracle for anyone to supplant both Ayton and Doncic from that top spot in the draft. Jaren Jackson offers an intriguing mix of skills and youth to potentially grow into one of the best bigs in the NBA – but he is so raw that the idea of pacing a more well-refined center like Ayton seems highly unlikely.

Marvin Bagley III checks many of the same boxes as Jackson – young, athletic frontcourt player – but he has gotten by largely on his athleticism throughout his time at Duke. That’s not a bad thing considering he reclassified and – when he could have been playing high school basketball – averaged 21.0 points and 11.1 rebounds in Durham. However, he is a bit of a tweener without a well-defined role in the NBA on Day 1.

Who Should The Phoenix Suns Take First Overall?

Deandre Ayton.

And I say this as someone who has been madly in love with Doncic for the past 12 months.

However, Ayton’s ceiling is simply too high. If everything clicks right for Ayton, then he becomes one of the best players in the NBA. He can stretch the floor with his shot or bang down low in the post. He has the athleticism and size to be a dominant force on defense, as long as he puts the time into it.

If you plug Ayton into the Suns lineup tomorrow, Phoenix has a lineup consisting of five players under the age of 25, four of them under 22. That is the sort of base that can create a legitimately terrifying franchise if everything goes right in the desert.

Which Player Will Be Drafted First IN The NBA Draft?

Odds as of May 17 at Bovada

  • Deandre Ayton -285
  • Luka Doncic +175
  • Field +850