Rothstein: Ayton The Next David Robinson

DeAndre Ayton isn't a lefty, but his game is reminiscent of The Admiral 

Taz and the Moose
June 20, 2018 - 10:14 am

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With the 2018 NBA Draft upcoming, speculation is swirling about possible twists and turns in store for us Thursday night.

Despite the uncertainties, one thing is almost completely certain: Arizona standout DeAndre Ayton will be the No. 1 overall pick. 

Several experts presume it’s a forgone conclusion that Ayton, a consensus first-team All-American and last season’s Pac-12 Player of the Year, will hear his name called first.

One of those experts is CBS Sports College Basketball Insider Jon Rothstein, who stated on CBS Sports Radio that there’s a significant disparity of talent between Ayton and the rest of the draft pool. 

“I think we have a major drop-off after DeAndre Ayton goes off the board,” Rothstein said on Taz and The Moose. “You’re looking at somebody who is as physically gifted of a specimen and a prospect as we’ve seen in quite some time in college basketball.”

Ayton averaged 20.1 points, 11.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in his only college season. While his offensive ability is apparent, Rothstein considers Ayton’s lateral quickness on defense vastly underrated. That could be a major advantage at the next level.

“We saw times in the (NBA) postseason where switching on the smaller players is something that obviously is going to be paramount as you’re going to be a capable defender as a big man,” Rothstein said. “DeAndre Ayton’s lateral quickness is something that can’t be understated when you think about how big switching could be in today’s NBA.”

Although Ayton is being marveled for his multitude of physical intangibles, critics have voiced concerns over the one-and-done’s work ethic. Rothstein, however, strongly rebuttals those assessments.

“Everybody wants to chastise obviously his motor a little bit,” Rothstein said. “Here’s what I say to the people who chastise DeAndre Ayton’s motor: he had six games with 15 rebounds or more.”

In regards to long-term potential, Rothstein compares Ayton’s skill set to that of a former 10-time All-Star, two-time NBA champion, and a current Hall-of-Famer — ex-San Antonio Spurs center David Robinson.

“(Ayton’s) somebody who looks like he’s physically ready down the line to be a right-handed version of David Robinson,” Rothstein said.