The freshman starting trio for Arizona Basketball is all projected to go in the first round of the NBA Draft, including the possibility of Nico Mannion joining Deandre Ayton in Phoenix.
The 2019-20 Arizona Basketball season is in their final month of the regular season before post-season begins. It’s this time of the year as well to start looking at the NBA Draft projections come out. The latest by ESPN has all three of the Wildcats freshman trio getting selected in first round: Nico Mannion at No.10, Josh Green at No.17 and Zeke Nnaji at No.27. With Nico at the top spot, he has a chance to play with another former Wildcat great, the one and only Deandre “feed me the ball” Ayton.
Head coach Sean Miller already indicated earlier in the year that Mannion was leaving after his freshman season. Many feel that he may not be ready, but he is projected at No.10 for a reason.
He has an excellent basketball IQ, passes with precision, can knock down the jumper, the floater or even the three and has that leadership mindset at the point guard position that teams in the NBA are always looking for.
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At the No.10 spot, Mannion would get selected by the Phoenix Suns. Currently, for the Suns veteran point guard, Ricky Rubio runs the shows but bringing in someone with the athletic abilities that the Red Mamba has, he would make an immediate impact.
If the Suns were to select Mannion he would be joining Ayton…that would be more than worth the price of admission. These two on the court together would compliment meant each other so well with Mannion looking to push the pace down the court and feed Ayton for the easy finish down low.
At Arizona, Mannion has shown how versatile he is on the offensive end and major strides on the defensive end as well. Considering all the pressure he has been under his freshman season to perform and deliver for the Wildcats, Mannion has done well.
He leads the team in assists per game and is second in the Pac-12 with 5.3 per game. Plus, he is averaging 13.6 points and 2.5 rebounds per game too.
Ayton has been putting up some remarkable stats as well in the NBA. In his second year with Suns, after missing a majority of the games at the beginning of the year due to NBA drug violations, Ayton has been putting up All-Star like stats. He is averaging 18.7 points per game, 12.0 rebounds per game and has 15 double-doubles in 23 games played.
Late last year, Mannion broke down film with NBA Draft Analyst Mike Schmitz:
On June 25th, 2020 we’ll all find out and see if Mannion will be joining forces with Ayton in Phoenix. If he does, the Arizona Basketball fan base will surely travel to see these two greats play together. At Zona Zealots, we can’t wait to see what the future holds for Nico Mannion. As always, Bear Down, Arizona!