NEW YORK, United States – The Phoenix Suns used their first-overall pick in franchise history to select Bahamian teenager Deandre Ayton No. 1 at the 2018 NBA draft on Thursday.
The 19-year-old Ayton was expected to go first to the Suns, who like the 7-foot center's size and skill that he used to dominate in US college basketball last season with the Arizona Wildcats.
The Suns are hoping Ayton can help turn around a team that finished with just 21 wins against 61 defeats, the worst in the NBA.
Ayton believes he could form a partnership in Phoenix with Devin Booker similar to the Lakers' famous O'Neal-Kobe Bryant double-act which dominated the NBA.
"Honestly, I could see myself in Phoenix," Ayton said prior to the draft. "I could see a little Shaq and Kobe 2.0."
Here's the rest of the top 10 picks:
2. Marvin Bagley III (Sacramento Kings)
The Sacramento Kings used the second pick to take 6-foot-11 power forward Marvin Bagley who played with Ayton for one season at a high school in Phoenix, Arizona.
Prior to the Draft, the Duke University big man said he should be above Ayton in the pecking order.
"People could take it how they want, but I know Deandre, we’re both competitive, but at the end of the day we both play this game to be the best," Bagley told Sports Illustrated this week.
"So no, I don’t think (Ayton) should be drafted before me."
S E C U R E D pic.twitter.com/TOqMsuoVyi — Sacramen2 Kings (@SacramentoKings) June 21, 2018
3. Luka Doncic (Atlanta Hawks, traded to Dallas Mavericks)
Slovenia's Luka Doncic was chosen 3rd overall by the Atlanta Hawks.
The 19-year-old point guard, who recently won the Euroleague MVP award, headed to New York just days after sealing the Spanish league championship with Real Madrid.
The Hawks, though, sent Doncic to the Dallas Mavericks for No. 5 pick Trae Young and a lottery-protected first-round pick in 2019.
Clearly, the Mavs are going for a Euro build again, the same way they did 20 years ago with Dirk Nowitzki.
Thank you Legend!! https://t.co/mv7fNZyJ9K — Luka Doncic (@luka7doncic) June 22, 2018
4. Jaren Jackson Jr (Memphis Grizzlies)
The 6-foot-11 Jaren Jackson Jr. went to the Memphis Grizzlies as the 4th overall pick. The 18-year-old from Michigan State is one of the youngest players in this year’s Draft. He will look to combine with veterans Marc Gasol and Mike Conley.
A new big man in Memphis! Jaren Jackson Jr. goes No. 4 to the Grizzlies pic.twitter.com/WnFSzpxqb2 — Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 21, 2018
5. Trae Young (Dallas Mavericks, traded to Atlanta Hawks)
The Dallas Mavericks picked former Oklahoma scoring sensation Trae Young for the Atlanta Hawks at No. 5 as part of the deal.
Young led the nation with his averages of 27.4 points and 8.7 assists for Oklahoma. The 6-foot-2 Young scored at least 40 points in 4 games and tied a Division I record by recording 22 assists in a game.
He will have a better chance to showcase his offensive capabilities in a rebuilding team. Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk is looking to build something similar to what he had seen from his time working for the Golden State Warriors which built around getting good lottery draft picks like Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.
Welcome to Atlanta, Trae. pic.twitter.com/Y4SY4DAbQZ — NBA Draft (@NBADraft) June 22, 2018
6. Mohamed Bamba (Orlando Magic)
Mo Bamba has high expectations for himself. pic.twitter.com/gwQZW2QYai — SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 21, 2018
7. Wendell Carter Jr. (Chicago Bulls)
Wendell Carter Jr. and his parents are killin' the #NBADraft pic.twitter.com/UgafYfammo — Jasmine (@JasmineLWatkins) June 21, 2018
8. Collin Sexton (Cleveland Cavaliers)
The Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to the future – with or without LeBron James – as they took on Alabama point guard Collin Sexton. This 8th pick of the draft was part of a package from Boston Celtics with the Kyrie Irving trade.
A new guard will be getting buckets in Cleveland! Collin Sexton goes No. 8 to the Cavs pic.twitter.com/E5oWyLfr8o — Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 22, 2018
9. Kevin Knox (New York Knicks)
The New York Knicks, selecting 9th, will see if Kevin Knox of Kentucky can be a key addition to the team’s future together with Kristaps Porzingis.
"They booed Porzingis and look where he's at now ... They can chant 'Michael Porter' all they want, they got Kevin Knox" The next Knick isn't worried about the fan reaction in Brooklyn pic.twitter.com/6fAel7U2dE — Sports Illustrated (@SInow) June 22, 2018
10. Mikal Bridges (Philadelphia 76ers, traded to Phoenix Suns)
Villanova combo guard Mikal Bridges was taken at 10th by the Philadelphia 76ers but was traded to the Suns for a 2021 future first-round pick.
Mikal Bridges and Zhaire Smith are swapping hats. (via @wojespn) pic.twitter.com/RJZIGj6Ura — SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 22, 2018
Other surprises: The Charlotte Hornets, selecting at 11th, got guard Shai Gilgeaous-Alexander and then shipped him to the LA Clippers, who were selecting at 12th and got Michigan State sophomore Miles Bridges to trade back to the Hornets. The Clippers also got Boston guard Jerome Robinson of Boston College at pick 13. Highly-touted player Michael Porter Jr, mewnwhile, fell to the Denver Nuggers at 14. –Rappler.com