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Suns leaning toward drafting DeAndre Ayton

DeAndre Ayton, Luka Doncic

Despite the strong links to Luka Doncic with their new head coach Igor Kokoskov, the Phoenix Suns are leaning toward drafting Arizona center DeAndre Ayton, according to local radio voice John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7.

When asked on Twitter about his confidence level on Ayton being selected with the No. 1 pick, Gambadoro gave his “100 percent.”

The Suns have been trying to get the center position right for years, shuffling the deck between a veteran Tyson Chandler, who is winding down his career, as well as the 7-foot-1 Alex Len, Alan Williams, and Dragan Bender.

They’ve yet to come up with a constant at the five-spot and Ayton; a legitimate center with excellent all-around instincts, could be the solution to that problem.

Kokoskov, who coached Doncic in EuroBasket 2017, as the team captured gold for the first time in the country’s history — has a strong connection to the 19-year-old Real Madrid star, who has reportedly flexed his muscle to ensure he winds up with the Suns.

Doncic is an NBA-ready talent and has played against pro talent for years and he would make a great fit with any team that gives him minutes, but the Suns recently drafted a small forward in Josh Jackson last year, and it would complicate things by playing one over the other.

Devin Booker is cemented into his slot at shooting guard, and while most experts are saying he’s capable of playing point guard — it’ll be a transformative effort — a huge gamble for a top talent who has only played in the wing for his entire career.