PHOENIX — Deandre Ayton might be the NBA’s next great man in the middle.
The exhibition opener for both teams featured the top two picks in the most recent draft. Marvin Bagley III of Duke came off the Sacramento bench for seven points in 25 minutes.
Ayton, Bagley’s one-time high school teammate, looks a little more NBA-ready. The former Arizona star leaped high for alley-oop and showed off a nice touch with a hook, finishing 9-for-16 from the floor and 6-of-8 from the free throw line.
Joel Embiid, perhaps the league’s top current big man, matched up Monday with another top-10 center from the draft, Orlando’s Mo Bamba. Embiid kept Philadelphia unbeaten with 21 points in the 76ers’ final game before they head to China for a pair of games against Dallas.
Ayton missed his final four field-goal attempts and went 2-of-4 from the line with an offensive foul in the final minute.
Kings: Bogdan Bogdanovic (knee), Kosta Koufos (hamstring), Iman Shumpert (calf) and Nemanja Bjelica (knee) did not play. … Harry Giles III, who missed all of last season after being selected 20th overall in the 2017 draft, scored 14 points. … Bagley shot 2-for-7 and grabbed two rebounds.
Suns: Mikal Bridges, the 10th overall selection in June’s draft, was scoreless with one rebound in 12 minutes. … Devin Booker, who had surgery on his right hand last month, did not play. He is expected to miss all of the preseason but be ready for the start of the regular season.