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Devin Booker praises Deandre Ayton’s intelligence

deandre ayton, devin booker

Devin Booker and top overall selection Deandre Ayton have yet to share the court for their first NBA game together, but the franchise star can already see the traits that will make Ayton an important cog for the Phoenix Suns moving forward.

“Just a willingness to learn, picking things up quick,” Booker said of Ayton, according to Evan Sidery of Bright Side of the Sun. “Coach tells him one thing, then I watch him the next five plays he does exactly how coach says. Being able to pick things up like that young and being a big. Usually bigs can’t pick up on things like that from my experiences, but he’s really intelligent, really smart. That’s important for him.”

Ayton was the no-brainer choice with the No. 1 overall pick due to a robust frame and a double-double record throughout his lone season at the University of Arizona. But rookies are tricky, and while some might boast endless potential to flourish in the league, it is the mental aspect that separates good from great ones.

The 7-footer has his first official practice of training camp on Tuesday, but could already see how detail-oriented the NBA can be.

“Today was a hello, it wasn’t that bad,” Ayton said. “It’s a lot of details, they are throwing a lot of stuff at you. Lot of defense. Lot of sets and plays. You just gotta stay dialed-in today.”

The big man acknowledges the progression he’s made since starring in the Las Vegas Summer League, having made the necessary strides to fit the NBA mold.

“I’m a whole new person now.” Ayton said. “Summer League, I was still Deandre from U of A. Now, I’m changed, like now I think my game upgraded a lot more.”

If things go accordingly, Ayton should be the legitimate starting center Phoenix has looked to have throughout the past few years, able to make an impact on both sides of the ball.