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ESPN: UA’s Deandre Ayton best fit for Suns if they draft No. 1

Utah forward David Collette (13) defends against Arizona forward Deandre Ayton (13) in the second half during an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The Phoenix Suns finished the 2017-18 NBA season with the worst record in the NBA, giving them favorable odds to land the first overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft.

But as Suns fans have become accustomed to in recent years, seeing Phoenix drop below the No. 1 pick would not come as much of a surprise.

The Suns have a 25 percent chance to draw the first pick in the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday, along with a 64.2 percent chance to pick somewhere in the top-3.

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz believe Arizona center Deandre Ayton is the best fit for Phoenix’s needs at No. 1 overall, with Real Madrid point forward Luka Doncic close behind should the Suns draw the No. 2 pick.

Doncic is an excellent fit on this roster and has built-in chemistry with newly appointed head coach Igor Kokoskov, under whom he won the EuroBasket championship this past summer. Still, it will be difficult to dislodge Ayton from atop this perch, and there is a great deal of need for a dominant center on Phoenix’s roster as well, with Alex Len entering unrestricted free agency and Tyson Chandler nearing the end of his career.

Under head coach Sean Miller, Ayton dominated the college ranks for the Wildcats, earning the Pac-12 player and freshman of the year awards. He was also one of three freshman named to the AP All-America Team.

Doncic’s history with new Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov on the Slovenian national team should be appealing to Suns fans, especially when taking into consideration Kokoskov’s proven track record of developing talent in the NBA.

But who should the Suns consider taking should they fall below the second pick in the draft?

According to Givony, the Suns should continue to look at the center position with Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson Jr. or Texas’ Mohamed Bamba.

The Suns were the worst defensive team in the NBA last year, and Ayton (or Doncic) won’t provide immediate relief in that area, which could make Jackson or even Mohamed Bamba possibilities to consider should they slip on lottery night.

The Suns will host a NBA Draft Lottery viewing party at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Tuesday.

Doors open at 4 p.m., but the order is not expected to be revealed until approximately 5:20 p.m.

Burns & Gambo will be airing their daily show live from Suns headquarters on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.


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