> Why Phoenix Suns picked Deandre Ayton, not Luka Doncic, in 2018 NBA Draft NBA

Why Phoenix Suns picked Deandre Ayton, not Luka Doncic, in 2018 NBA Draft

Why Phoenix Suns picked Deandre Ayton, not Luka Doncic, in 2018 NBA Draft

  • Suns
Nov 18
SW Creative
  • SportsWriters

Deandre Ayton’s impressive performance last season that brought the Phoenix Suns to the NBA Finals made some believe that Phoenix actually made the right choice by selecting him ahead of Luka Doncic in the 2018 NBA Draft.

However, true to his potential, Doncic is now a star in his own right, and many still question how the Slovenian national wasn’t the No. 1 pick that year. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony underlined some of the possible challenges that international prospects, like Doncic, usually face.

“With as small as the world has become, and even though we have more film and information at our fingertips than ever, I still believe that international players are at a disadvantage in the NBA draft process compared with their NCAA peers,” Givony said. “There is simply a comfort level and a familiarity for NBA teams in scouting college players that internationals don’t enjoy. Most NBA execs will get over to Europe once or twice, and what if you happen to fall on one or two bad games?”

Indeed, the Suns went with Ayton on the draft night, while Doncic went to Dallas.

“[Dallas] been talking to me,” Doncic said on the ESPN/ABC broadcast that night. “They were so nice to me. And I’m glad, you know? Just happy to be in the NBA. Just happy to be a part of that.”

Givony said the Suns thought picking Ayton would be a safer option than an international player since he was already playing in the United States before the NBA.

“After canvassing most of the league in recent weeks, there seems to be somewhat of a consensus forming around Ayton as the ‘safe pick’ at No. 1,” Givony noted at the time.

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