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‘Rookie Midterms’: Deandre Ayton and the Perils of Being the No. 1 Pick

In the latest of edition of our video series on the NBA’s freshmen, we look at Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton—an old-school big man trying to find his footing in a new-school pace-and-space game

Even though Deandre Ayton was the first pick in the 2018 NBA draft, the discourse around the Suns center has been shockingly quiet. The Luka-Trae trade owned draft night, and that pair, with their highlight-heavy games, has sucked up most of the spotlight allotted to rookies this season. Meanwhile, Ayton has just been doing his thing out in the desert.

Welcome to Rookie Midterms, a video series by J. Kyle Mann, the mind behind the Dime Drop YouTube page and The Ringer’s The Leap series. In this video, Kyle dives deep on Ayton’s traditional game and looks at how it meshes with this progressive basketball era. He also unpacks how the perception of Ayton has been affected by his status as the no. 1 pick. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more videos in the Rookie Midterms series, and make sure you’re subscribed to The Ringer’s YouTube page.