The Phoenix Suns made a fairly uncontroversial pick at the top of the 2018 NBA Draft, as the team selected Arizona center Deandre Ayton No. 1 overall. Phoenix had a hole at center that he was able to fill, he went to college two hours away at the alma mater of team owner Robert Sarver, and Ayton possesses the potential to be a great center for a long, long time.
The thing that made Ayton’s selection a little controversial, though, was the debate that existed over whether he was indeed the top prospect in the draft. It wasn’t much of a conversation because he was a near-lock to go No. 1 once Phoenix got the pick, but it was very easy to argue that Real Madrid forward Luka Doncic was the better prospect. To add to the intrigue, the Suns hired Doncic’s national team coach, Igor Kokoskov, to take over in May.
Kokoskov made it clear he loved the European wunderkind, but said that picking Ayton was the “unanimous decision” among Phoenix’s decision makers. It turns out, however, that he might not have had too much pull in the process. In a piece on Doncic by Tim MacMahon of ESPN, it was revealed that Kokoskov had “minimal input” on the direction the Suns took.