The 2018 NBA Draft Class has the potential to go down in history as one of the best ones if its players continue their scorching career start. Luka Dončić has already established himself as one of the best players in the world and the frontrunner to win the MVP award this year. Trae Young led his Hawks deep into the playoffs and showed superstar potential, while the #1 pick Deandre Ayton anchored the Suns on their way to the surprising Finals appearance, where they fell two wins short from a championship. This class is set to be immortalized alongside some other names that could be potentially great, like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Michael Porter Jr., and Jaren Jackson Jr.
Most of the guys mentioned already got paid by their respective teams, as GMs showed no hesitation about locking down their young stars for the future. But oddly enough, the #1 pick that played a massive part in his team almost going all the way is still waiting. That has caused some confusion around the league, as it was even reported that Deandre Ayton is disappointed with the Suns and the fact they still haven’t offered him the max extension.
The situation is pretty awkward, but Ayton has shown some professionalism and decided to put his head down and work in order for the Suns to compete for a championship again. The 23-year old Ayton is still so young and now much more experienced, as that could very well be crucial for this Suns team to take a step forward. Considering how rare and valuable quality big men are in today’s NBA, it’s mind-boggling why the Suns still have extended Ayton’s contract and paid the man.
But then you look at the Suns’ history and their owner Robert Sarver, known for his cheapness with contracts. That already broke up one great Suns team in the mid-2000s and could be detrimental once again. Ayton was that crucial third option behind Paul and Booker, holding down the paint on both sides of the floor, averaging 15.8 ppg and 11.8 rpg during their playoff run. If the Suns want to remain competitive in the loaded West, they have to have Ayton present and happy. For that to happen, the front office has to bring out the checkbook. If they are smart, that will be the next move.