The Suns received their first-ever No. 1 NBA Draft pick in franchise history Tuesday but there's no guarantee they will spend it on adopted Arizonan Deandre Ayton.
The Bahamian big man, who played two years of prep school ball in Phoenix and spent last season with the Wildcats, is often regarded as the best prospect in the 2018 Draft — but Slovenian guard Luka Doncic is right behind him, and played for new Suns coach Ikor Kokoskov with the Slovenian national team.
Together, they helped Slovenia win the 2017 Eurobasket title with a win over Serbia in the final game.
ESPN analyst Jay Bilas said it's "not a no-brainer" that the Suns will take Ayton. Bilas said Ayton is his No. 1 rated player but that Doncic is "making a good case."
Suns GM Ryan McDonough told the Republic that the Suns "don't know yet" who they will take and, before the lottery, said Doncic would not be a sure thing at No. 1 despite the connection to Kokoskov.
"It’s an easy assumption to make but we’re going to draft whoever we think the best player is,” McDonough said. “If we do get the No. 1 pick, Doncic will certainly be in that mix. But Ayton and a few other guys will as well.”
Despite their proximity to McKale Center, and UA's production of NBA players, the Suns haven't drafted a Wildcat player for 22 years and have only taken four in the first two rounds.
The list of UA players drafted by the Suns:
Ben Davis, 1996, No. 43 (second round)
Anthony Cook, 1989, No. 24 (first round)
Steve Kerr, 1988, No. 50 (second round)
Al Fleming, 1976, No. 30 (second round)
Bill Kennedy, 1972, No. 140 (ninth round)
Bill Davis, 1968, No. 160 (12th round)
Five-star 2019 guard Cassius Stanley put Arizona in his top six, along with Oregon, UCLA, USC, Kansas and Texas.
CBS' Dennis Dodd took a big-picture look into the Pac-12's slide behind the other power conferences.