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NBA Draft Odds: Ayton a Near Lock To Go First Overall

The countdown is on to the 2018 NBA Draft and the Phoenix Suns are on the clock with the first overall pick. The Suns are expected to take Arizona center Deandre Ayton with the first selection and oddsmakers seem to agree as they have listed Ayton as a huge -2500 favorite to be taken with the top pick.

Online sportsbook BetOnline has Ayton at the top of its list with Slovenian superstar Luka Doncic at +1500, Jaren Jackson Jr. at +4000 and the field at +1200. 

Since Jackson seems like a complete long shot, let’s take a look at the case for Ayton or Doncic to go first overall.

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 is a legit generational talent and could become one of the best players in the NBA. Rarely does a center come along with the outside game that Ayton possesses so it would be hard for the Suns to pass him up considering the defensive inefficiencies of their current roster.

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.

Which Player Will Be Drafted First IN The NBA Draft?
  • Deandre Ayton -2500
  • Luka Doncic +1500
  • Jaren Jackson +4000
  • Field +1200
Odds as of June 21 at BetOnline