At the 2018 NBA Draft, the Phoenix Suns selected Deandre Ayton with the first overall pick.
Ayton was a dominant presence in his sole season at the University of Arizona, averaging 20 points, 12 rebounds, and two blocks while leading the Wildcats to the Pac-12 championship. He was projected to go to the Suns from the very beginning, which led to many questions about his eventual teammate Devin Booker.
Booker has become the steal of his draft class shortly into his career, putting up consistent scoring numbers that had impressed the likes of Lakers great Kobe Bryant. So when it became clear that the two would become teammates, many likened it to another shooting guard and center duo of Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.
In an interview with ESPN, Ayton was asked about the Bryant and O’Neal comparisons and described how he felt, basically saying that it makes perfect sense:
If you have a big man that can really play the two-man game and you have one of the best guards in the league, it’s really hard to defend and we can really kind of execute.
The positions of shooting guard and center have seen a dip in importance in recent years, with the rise of the point guard and small forward. However, Ayton and Booker have as much raw talent as any one-two punch in the entire league.
While it may take a little while, Booker and Ayton could become an all-time great duo if they use the tools they’ve been given correctly. And even if they never end up becoming Bryant and O’Neal, they could very well become their own all-time great duo.
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