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Celtics draft Aggies' Williams

Field Level Media
June 22. 2018 12:49AM
Deandre Ayton (Arizona) greets NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the number one overall pick to the Phoenix Suns first round of the 2018 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

From Brad Biggs, Chicago Tribune NFL beat writer, the Week 4 Power Rankings.

The Boston Celtics, picking No. 27 in Thursday night’s NBA draft, selected Robert Williams, a 6-10, 237-pound center from Texas A&M.

Big guys taken

The NBA’s lightweights got the message Thursday: If you’re going to compete with the heavyweights, you’ve got to get bigger.

The Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings made 7-foot Deandre Ayton of Arizona and 6-foot-11 Marvin Bagley III of Duke the tallest tandem of 1-2 picks since 2006 when they began a run on big men at the top of the 2018 NBA Draft.

Ayton, the No. 1 overall selection, brings a sturdy, 260-pound frame to the middle of a Suns defense that ranked last in the NBA in points allowed en route to the NBA’s worst record during the 2017-18 season. The 19-year-old ranked among the national leaders in rebounds (11.6 per game) and blocks (1.9 per game) last season as a one-and-done freshman.

A native of the Bahamas, Ayton will begin his pro career right around the block from where he attended Hillcrest Prep Academy before heading 100 miles down the road to Tucson, where he led the Arizona Wildcats to a 27-win season and as high as a No. 2 national ranking.

“The fans out there are amazing, the best fans in the world,” Ayton said shortly after the announcement of the selection in New York.

“I’m really happy to be a Phoenix Sun and start a winning legacy with Devin Booker and Josh Jackson and all the other guys. We’re a young team and we’re ready.”

Bagley, meanwhile, adds a versatile frontcourt presence to a Kings team that scored the fewest points in the NBA last season.

Despite not turning 19 until the day before the start of the NCAA Tournament and having had his numbers limited by Duke’s balanced approach, Bagley managed to average 21.0 points per game on 61.4 percent shooting.

The run on big men stalled temporarily when the Atlanta Hawks and Dallas Mavericks agreed to swap picks, with Dallas getting 6-foot-8 international star Luka Doncic at No. 3 in exchange for high-scoring Oklahoma point guard Trae Young, selected fifth, and the Mavericks’ 2019 first-round pick.

Sandwiching the selection of Young, Memphis and Orlando got back in the big-man game, with the Grizzlies snatching up Michigan State’s 6-11 Jaren Jackson Jr. at No. 4 before the Magic completed the top six by selecting Texas’ 7-foot Mo Bamba.