Igor Kokoskov makes pitch for Deandre Ayton as Rookie of the Year
After reading and hearing all about the Luka Doncic talk, Phoenix Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov made the pitch for his own young stud Deandre Ayton for Rookie of the Year. Per Gina Mizell of The Athletic, Kokoskov reminded people of how good Ayton has been so far in his rookie campaign.
Igor Kokoskov, who is very understated, publicly lobbied for Ayton for RoY: “I’ve been reading articles abt Luka Doncic, who I coached & have a lot of respect for. Somehow, somewhere in between the lines, Ayton is a pretty good player who is putting up excellent numbers.” #Suns
— Gina Mizell (@ginamizell) December 24, 2018
Doncic has made headlines over the past couple of weeks with his outstanding performances, highlight plays, and clutch shots. It seems like the third overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft is already running away with the Rookie of the Year award. However, Ayton seems to be right on the Slovenian Wonderboy’s tail with his strong play over the past week.
Doncic leads all rookies in his class in points per game, averaging 19 a night. Ayton, on the other hand, is right behind him, averaging 16.6 points per game. The first overall pick of the 2018 draft, also, leads all rookies in rebounds, averaging 10.9 per contest.
Let’s have a look at their last five games, where both have been absolute studs. Doncic has been on a tear over that stretch, averaging 25.0 points, on 44.4 percent field goal shooting, 6.0 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per game. Ayton has likewise shown his dominance over that stretch. Over those five games, the former Arizona Wildcat has averaged eye-popping numbers of 22.8 points, 15.6 rebounds, while shooting an ultra-efficient 67.1 percent from the field, and 84.2 percent from the charity stripe.
At the start of the year, many have penciled in Ayton and Doncic as the top two rookies of the 2018 class. So far, both have produced excellent numbers for their respective squads. The only difference, perhaps, is that Doncic’s play has led to wins for Dallas, which is in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race, while Ayton’s Suns are at the bottom of the standings.