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Deandre Ayton is the consensus No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA draft. He’s the only player in this class that can say that with any real confidence. That’s cool and all, but you can’t say he’s better than legendary big man Shaq, who owns six of the top 25 records in NBA history for blocks.

ESPN NBA analyst Kendrick Perkins never seems to miss an opportunity to take hyperbole to the next level. That was the case recently when he compared Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton to an NBA legend.

That doesn’t change the fact that Ayton had a fantastic playoff run and helped Phoenix reach its first NBA Finals in 28 years. He was great. But the big moments are still far away. Ayton has made strides this season, his second under coach Monty Williams and the first when he played with Chris Paul.

Deandre Ayton did more with less and the Suns went

Phoenix Suns’ Deandre Ayton (22) attempts a shot against Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during the first half of Game 1 of the NBA Finals. | Chris Coduto/Getty Images

The whisper was more of a powerful statement. In 2018, the Phoenix Suns made the mistake of selecting Arizona center Deandre Ayton at No. 1. They beat a trio of young guards who have found success in the NBA in different ways. Luka Doncic was picked third by the Atlanta Hawks. The Dallas Mavericks took Trey Young in the fifth round. The Hawks and Mavericks traded for that pair, and the rest is a very successful story.

Collin Sexton has been one of the few reasons to watch the Cleveland Cavaliers in recent years.

Ayton had a pretty good first season, averaging a double-double: 16.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. After a 25-game suspension for violating NBA drug guidelines, Ayton returned and averaged 18.2 points and 11.5 rebounds last season. His grades are down this year, but he has done more with less. Despite his 14.4 points and 10.5 rebounds a night, Ayton improved his efficiency by shooting 62.6 percent from the field. His on-field percentage increased from 56.8% to 65.3%.

He made significant progress during the Phoenix playoffs. Ayton is hitting 69.5 percent from the field, even after he hit just 4-of-10 in Game 2 against the Milwaukee Bucks. This is the first time he hasn’t hit at least half of his pitches in a postseason game. He scores 16.2 points and 12.1 rebounds per game, making him a third option. Ayton is playing at the highest level of his career so far. But it wasn’t enough for Kendrick Perkins to say that.

Kendrick Perkins got a little – okay, a lot – carried away in his assessment of Ayton

After Deandre Ayton’s dominant performance in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, Kendrick Perkins shared a bold opinion about Ayton’s game.

I think he’s David Robinson 2.0.

Kendrick Perkins

Ayton was outstanding in the first game, scoring 22 points and grabbing 19 rebounds with 8-of-10 shooting. But David Robinson?

The Admiral resigned after the San Antonio Spurs won the NBA title in 2003. A few weeks later, Perkins was elected 27th. Perkins, meanwhile, left the NBA before Ayton came into the league. Their paths have never crossed on the field.

David Robinson 2.0? That doesn’t give Robinson much credit for his Hall of Fame career.

Robinson averaged 21.1 points and 10.6 rebounds per game in 14 seasons. Before his back surgery in 1996, he averaged 25.6 points and 11.8 rebounds. Here’s a comparison between Ayton and Robinson over their first three seasons.

  • David Robinson (1989-92): 24.4 points, 12.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.8 steals, 4.1 blocks.
  • Deandre Ayton (2018-21): 16.0 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.7 steals, 1.2 blocks.

Robinson averaged just over six minutes per game in his first three seasons as Ayton. So, if we normalize to 36 minutes, we get the following numbers:

  • Robinson: 23.6 points, 12.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.8 steals, 3.9 blocks.
  • Ayton: 18.5 points, 12.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.3 blocks.

Ayton is seen as a slightly more productive rebounder. And that’s it. But Kendrick Perkins has done it before, only in the 2021 NBA Finals.

Perkins and his exaggerations are well known


Kendrick Perkins is known for going too far. His excesses with Deandre Ayton are far from his first dip into the depths of excessive self-confidence.

That’s understandable. There are many voices in the field of sports analysis on television, and it’s not easy to rise above the noise. Unfortunately, this did not improve the quality of the analysis. Instead, we have louder, more extravagant, ridiculously extravagant images.

Perkins managed to reach the point of absurdity in a quote not once, but twice, according to SLAM.

Let’s keep it simple and keep it simple. The Milwaukee Bucks have the dumbest team in Finals history and the Phoenix Suns have the youngest team with the highest IQ in NBA history.

Kendrick Perkins

All right, then. Reading this, it’s hard to imagine the Suns not winning two games in a row. But here’s the thing: This is not an analysis. It’s just attention seeking.

Statistics provided by Basketball-Reference.

COMPARED TO: A forgotten Michael Jordan short film inspired Chris Paul’s love of basketball. I want to be like Mike

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