- Where will Deandre Ayton go in the draft? The Crossover’s Front Office breaks down his strengths, weaknesses and more in its in-depth scouting report.
Deandre Ayton showed up at Arizona as a hyped-but-unrefined prospect. He leaves having transformed himself physically and answered many of the questions surrounding his approach to basketball. He began lifting weights for the first time last summer and saw immediate dividends on the court, too big or strong for any college defender to properly handle around the basket and establishing himself as the front-runner for the No. 1 selection in the draft.
A native of the Bahamas, Ayton has a gregarious personality, boasts a soft shooting touch and an improving feel and skill set. If he puts in the work to become a better defender and rim protector, he should become a franchise cornerstone.
The Crossover’s Front Office breaks down Ayton’s strengths, weaknesses, NBA comparison and more in its in-depth scouting report.
Deandre Ayton, C, Arizona | Freshman
Height: 7’1” | Weight: 260 | DOB: 7/23/98 (19)
Stats: 20.1 PPG, 11.6 RPG, 1.9 BPG
• Elite physical specimen. Lean, muscular frame with 7’5” wingspan and 9’3” standing reach, similar to Joel Embiid. Already in the upper echelon of NBA bigs from an athletic standpoint.
• Nice-looking, projectable jump shot with range. Made 12 of 35 three-pointers and 73% of his free throws.
• Able to score over either shoulder in the paint or simply overpower opponents for dunks. Learning to use his size and strength to his advantage. Powerful finisher, particularly off a clean gather.
• Good passer out of double teams. Feels pressure coming and is willing to find open teammates.
• Excellent rebounder within his area. Size allows him to corral balls other players can’t. Rated 16th nationally in defensive rebound percentage and 40th in offensive rebound percentage.
• Quick enough feet to have utility defending mobile big men in space and help hedge on ball screens.
• Responded well to being seriously coached and challenged for the first time at Arizona. When his competitive juices are flowing, he can be extremely difficult to stop.
• Mediocre defensive awareness. Misses rotations and occasionally takes plays off entirely. Good but not great shot-blocker who should improve with better positioning.
• Played out of position at power forward next to a pure center in Dusan Ristic, which may have been a setback in processing help defense and other principles.
• Prefers to elevate and go get the ball rather than box out his man, which will be harder to get away with in the NBA.
• Not consistent running the floor. Tends to trail the play and seek spot-up opportunities instead of getting out ahead for easy baskets.
• Had a reputation for dogging it in high school. Chance remains he reverts to his old ways and doesn’t fulfill his full potential.
Player Comparison: Joel Embiid
Ayton doesn’t possess Embiid’s footwork or rim-protecting instincts, but is a more explosive athlete who comes without the injury history. It‘s not a stretch to think he could follow a similar path to stardom.