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NBA Draft 2018: Who Are The Biggest Winners And Losers?
24 June 2018, 09:48 | Tracey Rhodes
Deandre Ayton with NBA commissioner Adam Silver Getty Images
For Ayton, the expectations that accompany the first pick were evident. But while the Suns accomplished that goal, it may not be immediately reflected in their record next season.
Deandre Ayton's exciting offensive game and athletic dunks provide hope for a revival in Phoenix and a glimpse of "Shaq and Kobe 2.0" for years to come. It's a simple formula, but it's one that the Suns can believe in with Ayton's potential. It's insane, I just didn't know. Suns general manager Ryan McDonough didn't exactly hide his intentions, either. We already know what the scouts think. He averaged 21 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block per game.
For the Suns, losers of the most famous coin flip in National Basketball Association history, the organization finally landed its Big Man.
Bridges can thrive in Phoenix, play well off the ball and fit neatly alongside Josh Jackson. He's the ninth consecutive one-and-done player to be taken No. 1 overall.
Phoenix Suns'Deandre Ayton answers a question during a news conference as the team introduces its new players after the NBA basketball draft Friday, June 22, 2018, in Phoenix.
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Which team Toronto could potentially make a deal with remains to be seen, and a trade might not develop until Thursday night. The next few weeks are filled with plenty of unknowns. "It's not just that draft pick, that first-round pick".
Along with Ayton, the Suns added three other play-makers on draft night.
The night got underway rather quickly for the Duke Blue Devils as Marvin Bagley III was drafted with the No. 2 overall pick by the Sacramento Kings.
Aside from fixable defensive woes, there really isn't much left to say about his skill and school lineage.
Bridges' upside as a 3-and-D wing may make it worthwhile for Phoenix, though.
"LeBron James played 82 games this season", Altman said. We got the Hall of Fame awards and we just build up a relationship when going to events and going on the bus, meeting at the hotel, just being around each other all the time just cracking jokes to build that chemistry.
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On defence, Bridges should provide an instant boost to a unit that ranked 30th league-wide last season.
The center Ayton, a native of the Bahamas, went to high school for two years in Phoenix and then attended the University of Arizona in nearby Tuscon for one season. "Standing at 6'3" with a 6'8" wingspan, Okobo has an NBA-ready frame, and his shooting stroke is coming around as well.
Meanwhile, they don't even have a starter-quality point guard, as only the aging DJ Augustin and Shelvin Mack are there to carry the offense. Talk about awkward. Anything the Cavs do to retain The King will likely include packaging their newest draft pick in a trade for another star, just like they did with Andrew Wiggins in 2014.
The Suns will now turn their attention to free agency, where they could carve out upward of $18 million in salary-cap space by renouncing the rights to their free agents and waiving their players on non-guaranteed contracts (Tyler Ulis, Davon Reed and Shaquille Harrison). On Thursday, the Mavericks seemed to have found what they are looking for in Slovenian Luka Doncic. Marcus Smart or Dante Exum, for instance, are both two-way players young enough to grow alongside Phoenix's core, while Fred VanVleet showed promising flashes in Toronto this past season.
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Leonard is under contract for two more seasons but can exercise a player option to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. The 26-year-old Leonard is reportedly angry over the handling of his injury and comments from Tony Parker and Popovich.
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