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2018DD

#1 – Deandre Ayton – Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns have drafted Deandre Ayton with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Jesse Blancarte

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One of the few certainties heading into this year’s draft was that the Phoenix Suns would select Deandre Ayton with the first overall pick. In Ayton, the Suns get an elite center prospect with the potential to be a dominant player on both ends of the court.

Ayton stands at 7-foot-0 with a 7-foot-5 wingspan. He has a big, muscular frame but still has plenty of room to continue developing his body. Ayton is also extremely athletic, coordinate and nimble for a player his size. While some have wondered whether a player with Ayton will be limited by the NBA’s continuing movement toward playing smaller and faster, there’s plenty of reason to believe he is worthy of the first overall pick. If Ayton can become a more consistent weak side defender, improve his consistency in making the correct rotations and improve on his rebounding fundamentals, he could become a Rudy Gobert level defensive anchor. No one should expect Ayton to reach Gobert’s level but it’s a possibility and that alone is arguably enough justification to draft him first overall.

Additionally, Ayton has a diverse offensive game. He is an effective player in the post, can finish at the rim with either hand, he runs the floor well in the open court, is a constant lob threat and can stretch the court all the way to the three-point line. He isn’t necessarily elite at any single thing offensively but he has the potential to be an offensive threat from all over the court.

There’s almost zero risk that Ayton will be a bust and plenty of reason to believe he could be a star-level player sooner rather than later. While there may be other players with higher upside in this draft, Ayton has the ability to contribute today and the potential to be a superstar in the future, which makes him a great addition for Phoenix.

Jesse Blancarte is a Deputy Editor for Basketball Insiders. He is also an Attorney and a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

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2018DD

Sources: 76ers Trade Khyri Thomas to Pistons

Basketball Insiders

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Philadelphia’s No. 38 overall pick Khyri Thomas will be traded to Detroit, league sources say.

Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

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2018DD

Sources: Kings Trade Gary Trent Jr. to Blazers

Basketball Insiders

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Gary Trent Jr. is headed to the Blazers in a trade, league source tells ESPN.

Portland will send Sacramento to two future second-round picks for Trent, league sources tell ESPN.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

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2018DD

#30 – Omari Spellman – Atlanta Hawks

Lang Greene

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With the No. 30 pick in the NBA draft, the Atlanta Hawks selected Omari Spellman from Villanova University. .

After 10 consecutive seasons reaching the playoffs, the Atlanta Hawks failed to win 25 contests in 2018. Gone are All-Stars Joe Johnson, Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague, all of whom the franchise groomed at various points during their decade of playoff bliss. Now the team is faced with a daunting rebuild under second year general manager Travis Schlenk and first year coach Lloyd Pierce.

Spellman was the third Villanova player selected in the first round of this year’s draft behind Mikal Bridges (No. 10 overall) and Donte DiVincenzo (No. 17 overall). In his lone campaign with the Wildcats, Spellman appeared in 40 contests and averaged 10.9 points, eight rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.

The Hawks continue to add shooting to their rebuilding roster. With the No. 3 overall pick, the team selected Luka Doncic, who will be traded to the Dallas Mavericks for the rights to No. 5 overall pick Trae Young. The team used the No. 19 overall selection to draft shooting guard Kevin Huerter from the University of Maryland. In Spellman, the Hawks acquire a big man that shot 43 percent from the collegiate three-point line last season.

In addition to Young and Huerter, Spellman will join a young Hawks core featuring point guard Dennis Schroder and forward John Collins, two of the team’s first round draft picks from prior years.

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