Being selected at no. 1 in the NBA Draft carries a lot of pressure. Some wilt under the pressure and turn out to be duds.

Several players come to mind. But Deandre Ayton is certainly not one of them. If there is a flaw to the top pick of the 2018 NBA Draft, it is that some of his skills are not exactly at the NBA level.

It is seen as a reason why the Phoenix Suns never dangled him a contract extension. The 23-year-old was one of several players in the 2018 NBA Draft class that did not get a new lucrative deal, one of the much-talked-about things in the offseason.

Rather than cry on spilled milk, Ayton is taking a mature approach. Life goes on for the 6-foot-11 cager and he knows that the right time will come for him to sign a fresh lease. That could come next summer although staying in Phoenix holds no firm promise.

For now, all Ayton cares about is putting in the work. He knows that to get anything in the league, it has to be earned. That is his mindset right now and the Bahamian is even setting lofty goals for himself when he spoke to Marc Spears of The Undefeated.

“Me putting my head down and working is just closing out all of that noise. I’m not really worried about all of that,” Ayton said. “You had a deadline and it didn’t work out. Boom, Bada, Bing. You still got to work. You still got to play in between the lines. Still got to make sure this dude don’t dunk on me, score on me or do something to win the game. Still got to do that. And that’s just my competitive spirit.”

Right now, Ayton is busy trying to work on his game. He wants to become one of the best young two-way players in the league, an initiative that could lead to better things.

So aside from doing his part in helping the Suns or any team win, he also has personal goals in mind.

“I want All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year,” he said. “I want to be on that talk of First-Team defense.”

Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns Getty Images | Justin Casterline

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