Published: Sun, October 21, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Three Things to Know: Deandre Ayton outduels Luka Doncic in rookie showdown

Three Things to Know: Deandre Ayton outduels Luka Doncic in rookie showdown

He is a three-time victor of the NBA's Sixth Man award and has appeared in 1,262 regular-season games, ranking him 30th on the National Basketball Association career list.

After missing the playoffs for eight straight years, losing their last three season openers by a combined 83 points and cycling through four coaches and one general manager over the last five years, the Phoenix Suns and their fanbase needed a reprieve. Warren, Phoenix looked like a competent team for the first time in years. This game also had a showcase of top-tier rookies in Deandre Ayton and Luka Doncic. This led to big changes, including the hiring of a new head coach in former Utah Jazz assistant Igor Kokoskov. Devin Booker took commanding control of the game scoring 19 of the Suns final 38 points. The book on him coming in was he had never really been taught to defend until college and he just doesn't have the understanding yet, and that showed. What matters is not where Ayton and Doncic are right now but how much better are they around Christmas.

The Suns shooting guard ended the night with 35 points and seven assists while going 6/10 from three and 12/19 from the field.

Ayton, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, made 8 of 11 shots for 18 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and had six assists. Doncic puts up 10 points, 6rebounds and 4 assists of his own for the Mavericks.


Overall, it was a great way to start the season, especially since the Suns were able to put a late comeback attempt from Dallas to rest.

That said, on the defensive end of the floor Ayton has a lot of work to do. As a team, the Suns went 19-for-34 from beyond the arc while allowing the Mavericks to shoot just 30 percent themselves (10-for-33).

Suns: G Jamal Crawford, whose signing was announced earlier in the day, was not in uniform. Canaan was one of nine players to start at point guard for Phoenix last season.

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