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Deandre Ayton ties for most likely to win ROTY in NBA rookie survey

Phoenix Suns' Deandre Ayton dunks against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half of an NBA summer league basketball game Friday, July 6, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Phoenix Suns rookie center and No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton has the respect of his peers.

Ayton and Cleveland point guard Collin Sexton were voted most likely to win Rookie of the Year by their own draft class in the NBA’s yearly rookie survey, each earning 18 percent of the votes.

Ayton, a 7-foot-1 center, was a star in his one season with Arizona, averaging 20.1 points, 11.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. Almost a full foot shorter than Ayton, Sexton was also brilliant in 2018 for Alabama, averaging 19.2 points per game and leading the Crimson Tide to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

A total of 36 rookies voted, and their lack of an agreement on Rookie of the Year was notable. In the nine seasons the survey has been done, the top ROTY candidate has had at least 24 percent of the vote. Dallas’ Luka Doncic and New York’s Kevin Knox tied for third, each receiving nine percent of the vote.

Other award winners include Chicago’s Wendell Carter Jr. for who will have the best career and Minnesota’s Keita Bates-Diop for the draft’s biggest steal.

As far as a pure attribute, Philadelphia’s Zhaire Smith was voted most athletic, Atlanta’s Trae Young won multiple categories for best shooter and playmaker while Memphis’ Jevon Carter came away with best defender.

Mikal Bridges, the Suns’ other first-round pick, did not win a specific category, but received votes in various categories. He tied for third in best career, finished fourth in best defender and also got a vote under most athletic.

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