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Suns land No. 1 pick, can keep Deandre Ayton in Arizona

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Ayton might get to stay in Arizona

USC v Arizona Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Deandre Ayton envisioned himself playing for the Phoenix Suns, and he might just get his wish.

The Suns landed the No. 1 overall pick during Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery, giving them an opportunity to select the transcendent big man on June 21.

Ayton went to high school at Hillcrest Prep in Phoenix before joining the Arizona Wildcats, so becoming a Sun would be a homecoming of sorts for the Bahamian. Ayton’s mother resides in the area.

It might seem like a no-brainer to select Ayton, who is widely regarded as the top prospect in the draft, but the Suns may also consider Slovenian wunderkind Luka Doncic.

The skilled 19-year-old forward was mentored by new Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov on the Slovenian national team, and some consider him as an equally tantalizing prospect as Ayton.

Ayton’s potential and track record is undeniable, though.

The 7-foot-1 big man recorded one of the most dominant seasons in Pac-12 history in his lone year at Arizona.

He averaged 20.1 points, 11.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.9 blocks per game, and recorded 24 double-doubles, breaking the UA school record, previously held by Al Fleming.

Ayton was Pac-12 Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, becoming the first player to win both awards since UCLA’s Kevin Love in 2008.

If the Suns pass on Ayton, he surely would be selected by the division-rival Sacramento Kings, who won the No. 2 overall pick. That could wind up being a scenario that haunts Arizona sports fans for years to come.

Here is the entire draft order:

  1. Suns
  2. Kings
  3. Hawks
  4. Grizzlies
  5. Mavericks
  6. Magic
  7. Bulls
  8. Cavaliers
  9. Knicks
  10. Sixers (via Lakers)
  11. Hornets
  12. Clippers
  13. Clippers
  14. Nuggets
  15. Wizards
  16. Suns (via Heat)
  17. Bucks
  18. Spurs
  19. Hawks (via Timberwolves)
  20. Timberwolves (via Thunder)
  21. Jazz
  22. Bulls (via Pelicans)
  23. Pacers
  24. Trail Blazers
  25. Lakers
  26. Sixers
  27. Celtics
  28. Warriors
  29. Nets (via Raptors)
  30. Hawks (via Rockets)