2018 NBA Mock Draft: What if Memphis wins the lottery?

BOISE, ID - MARCH 15: Rawle Alkins
BOISE, ID - MARCH 15: Rawle Alkins /
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NBA mock draft
BOISE, ID – MARCH 15: Deandre Ayton /

Arizona. Deandre Ayton. 1. player. 211. . C

Without a single NCAA game played since the last image we have of Ayton bombing out against Buffalo in the first round of the NCAA tournament, a fair bit of evidence against him has stacked up. The Grizzlies don’t seem particularly like they are the team who will defy convention, however.

Across the country, the playoffs have shown us how big men who do not have a modern skill set can easily be rendered unplayable by teams who space the floor and have strong wing defenders. What happens, for instance, if Ayton comes across a team like Boston, with Al Horford able to defend him ably down low and twist him into a pretzel on the other end? How does Ayton provide value when his strengths are mitigated by superior individual matchups and gameplans that force him off the floor?

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It’s more likely by far that Ayton develops into such a problem on offense that other teams have to adjust for his efficiency on that end than it is he survives on defense against the best scoring teams in the NBA. That means we need to keep a careful eye on his shooting from now until the draft, as well as his passing. If he can create value like that of Karl-Anthony Towns, shooting on the move and making smart passes, he can be a valuable player. If not, his defense sure isn’t saving him.