Name: DeAndre Ayton
Birth Date: 07/23/98
Birthplace: Nassau, Bahamas
NBA Comparison: Karl-Anthony Towns
Ayton may very well be the most physically dominant prospect to come out of the lottery in the past decade. He walked into his first day of school at Arizona at 7-foot and 250 pounds. He’s probably continued his body development since then.
He’s showed potential to dominate the game of basketball in every aspect. Watching his film his physical dominance jumps off the screen. You could tell from his film, there wasn’t much opposing teams could do with him on most nights.
Something else that jumps out is that Ayton played out of position his entire freshman season at Arizona. It hindered his defense a ton but it prepared him to defend multiple positions at the NBA level.
Ayton averaged 20.1 Points and 11.6 Rebounds per game in his one season at the University of Arizona. He led the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament but saw his run end in the first round of the tourney. DeAndre will not be working out at the 2018 NBA Draft Combine for what it’s worth.
Physically, Ayton is everything teams want a modern day big man to be. He’s seven feet tall, 250 pounds and has feet like a guard. He’ll only be 19 on draft night and he’s already an incredibly strong kid. Ayton should continue to grow into his frame more in the first few years of his career. Incredible leaper.
Ayton’s combination of strength and bounce make him a deadly rebounder. In his one season at Arizona, he rebounded an astounding 27.6 percent of opponent misses.
He has a real knack for finishing at the rim. His physical tools make him lethal lob threat. He finished 83.6% of his shot attempts at the rim. That’s insane.
He uses his frame well while establishing position in the post. His physicality combined with his quick feet allow him to get to his spot early in the shot clock. He showed true flashes of being a dominant post player equipped with a plethora of moves. Passes out of double teams well which creates a ton of open three attempts for teammates.
Solid free throw shooter for a big, he shot 74 percent in his one season at Arizona. He’s got a consistent mid-range jump shot with the potential to stretch his range out to the 3-point line.
Ayton’s quick feet could potentially allow him to be an incredible defender. He has the quickness to stay in front of guards. Thrives at closing out on shooters. He showed signs of adjustment throughout the season regarding his defensive awareness. He showed improvement reading defenses and picking on switches during the latter part of the season.
Ayton has all the physical tools to be an excellent defender. Despite his physical prowess, his block and steal numbers rank towards the bottom among lottery big men. There are defensive IQ concerns with Ayton. He struggles to react when he’s forced to be the help defenders. He often seems a few ticks slow in processing what’s going on around him. NBA offenses will try to single him out nightly by making him defend the pick-and-roll. If he’s unable to react to a pick-and-roll, he’s going to become a liability against faster-paced teams.
Just as he struggles in the pick and roll defensively, he struggles as a screen setter on the offensive end. He tends to set shadow screens in which he doesn’t make any contact with the defender at all. He makes himself smaller when setting screens by rolling too early which causes him to stay narrow.
Ayton doesn’t seem to have a grasp of the little things.
Offensively, there’s concern on whether Ayton’s post game will translate to the NBA. He relied a lot on being the bigger more physical athlete when posting up. At the Pro level, he’ll be matched up with players of the same physical prowess, which may negate any type of post game he has early on.
Ayton also falls in love with his mid-range jumper a little too much. Too many times at Arizona you’d see Ayton settle for a mid-range jump shot as opposed to taking advantage of his advantages physically in the post.
In the NCAA tournament, Arizona went minutes without feeding Ayton the ball in their first-round loss. He never seemed to make a true effort to get his teammates to force feed him in the post.
*Pac-12 Conference Rookie of the Year
DeAndre Ayton has all the physical tools to be an elite big man on the NBA level. This guy’s potential alone warrants him being a top two pick in the draft. He still needs to fine-tune some things in his games. He’s an interesting prospect because a lot of his negatives hinder what makes him such a fascinating prospect.
Ayton has the quickness to guard multiple positions in switches but he’s doesn’t react to them well enough. His plethora of post moves and finishing ability at the rim are his Alpha traits offensively. His mid-range jumper is his complimentary trait, but he often forces the jumper instead of dominating down low. Ayton has some things to figure out about himself at the pro level.
The plus side is he has a lot of time to figure those things out. The kid is 19, and he’s a freak of nature physically. He can figure out the small things with experience. You can’t pass up on the potential of DeAndre. He’s a sure-fire top three pick in this class. I’d be hard-pressed to argue anyone else being the top prospect in this draft. Ayton’s the cream of the crop.