Deandre Ayton On The 2018 Draft: 'I think it's the best class in NBA history'

When mulling over the preeminent draft classes in NBA history, fans typically direct their focus to 1984, 1996 and 2003 — and rightfully so. However, Suns' big man Deandre Ayton is throwing his class into the ring, claiming that the 2018 draft is the "best class in NBA history."

The former first overall pick told reporters that he loves the way he and his fellow draftees are performing this postseason, specifically lauding Luka Doncic, Michael Porter Jr. and Trae Young.
I think it’s the best class in NBA history, Ayton explained to reporters after the Suns won their first-round series over the 2020 NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers. That’s how I feel. ... Guys like Luka, MPJ and Trae, it’s been great to watch us young guys go at it. We’re not backing down.

Although it's far too early to soberly dub the 2018 draft as the best ever, the burgeoning young thoroughbreds are certainly on the right path. In their first-ever playoff runs, Ayton is averaging 16.4 points — on 78% shooting — and 10.6 rebounds, while Young is putting up 28.9 points and 10.0 assists. Luka Doncic had an enthralling seven-game series against the Clippers, averaging 35.7 points, 10.3 assists and 7.9 rebounds; also, Porter Jr. is currently the No.2 scoring option on Denver, behind league MVP Nikola Jokic.

Moreover, the talent pool in the 2018 class goes beyond merely the most salient names. Phoenix's Mikal Bridges has turned into one of the premier 3-and-D guys in the league, and Kevin Huerter is playing a pivotal role for the Hawks as they attempt to upset the one-seeded 76ers. Even players outside the playoff picture are showing terrific promise, such as the Thunder's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

It's a tall task for this precocious group of players to exceed the level of greatness that is exhibited from years prior. The 1984 class is headlined by Michael Jordan — whose resume needn't be said — and two-time Finals MVP Hakeen Olajuwon; 1996 includes the late-great Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson and Steve Nash; while 2003 boasts LeBron James — whose resume also needn't be said — Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony.

Some will say the talent mentioned above makes it specious, at best, that the 2018 class becomes the best ever. Ask Ayton, however, and he'll tell you the 2018 takeover is already underway and "it's the new generation of the league."

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