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Deandre Ayton projected to be No. 1 pick in 2018 NBA Draft by Sports Illustrated


NCAA Basketball: Long Beach State at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Deandre Ayton has made it no secret that he intends to be a one-and-done with the Arizona Wildcats. The only thing left unknown is where he’ll be selected in the 2018 NBA Draft.

The 7-footer will almost surely be drafted in the top five, and as of right now, Sports Illustrated has him projected as the top overall pick in the draft — joining former Wildcat Lauri Markkanen in the Windy City with the Chicago Bulls.

Here is SI’s reasoning for Ayton:

Thanks to his freakish tools and impressive scoring touch, Ayton rates as the top prospect on our Big Board and has a strong case to go first overall. He checks every physical box you’d want in a center and already possesses a legitimate jump shot. Ayton’s effort levels can wax and wane over the course of a game, and it could be that he’s simply bored by collegiate competition, but when at full go he’s extremely difficult to stop. He needs to improve defensively, but has all the ability to do it. Whoever picks first will have a difficult decision to make, but Ayton’s massive talents will be tough to pass on.

It’s not much of a surprise that Ayton has moved to the top spot.

Ayton was absolutely dominant last week, averaging nearly a double-double with 20 points and 9.5 rebounds while shooting 62 percent. Unsurprisingly, he took home the Pac-12 Player of the Week honors.

For the season, he is averaging 20.4 points and 11.4 rebounds on 61.4 percent shooting, being one of only four players in college basketball to average 20 points and 10 rebounds a game while shooting 60 percent or better from the field.

Ayton’s biggest threat to the top overall spot is Duke forward Marvin Bagley III and international star guard Luka Doncic. Michael Porter Jr. may also have a chance but his recent back injury could cause him to slip.

With Ayton’s size, strength, and athleticism, he is arguably the most dominant player in college basketball and the scouts have certainly taken notice.

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