Deandre Ayton might be the NBA’s next great man in the middle.
The No. 1 pick had a dominant debut Monday night, finishing with 24 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots in the Phoenix Suns’ 106-102 loss to the Sacramento Kings.
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.
KINGS 106, SUNS 102
Yogi Ferrell had 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting, including 6 of 9 from 3-point range, and Willie Cauley-Stein added 14 points and 12 rebounds for Sacramento.
Josh Jackson added 17 points and six assists for Phoenix, and TJ Warren scored 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting.
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 expects to be ready for the start of the regular season.
UP NEXT: The Kings (1-0) travel to Los Angeles to play the Lakers on Thursday. … Phoenix (0-1) will play host to the New Zealand Breakers on Wednesday.
76ERS 120, MAGIC 114
Joel Embiid had 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds in 22 minutes. Ben Simmons added nine points, five rebounds, seven assist, two steals and a block.
Furkan Korkmaz made 6 of 8 from the field, including 3 of 5 from behind the arc, and finished with 18 points in 18 minutes for the 76ers.
Nikola Vucevic led Orlando with 20 points and blocked two shots. Terrence Ross hit three 3s and finished with 13 points and three steals.
76ERS: Markelle Fultz, the top pick in the 2017 draft who missed 68 games last season, had 12 points on 5-of-12 shooting and grabbed six rebounds. … Jerryd Bayless did not play after suffering a sprained knee during practice Sunday. He’ll be re-evaluated in 3-to-4 weeks. Wilson Chandler, who strained his hamstring in Friday’s preseason opener, did not play. MAGIC: D.J. Augustine and Mo Bamba, the No. 6 overall selection in June’s draft, scored 12 points apiece. Augustine hit 3 of 4 from 3-point range and had six assists. … Isaiah Briscoe had 11 points and Aaron Gordon added 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
UP NEXT: The 76ers (2-0) play Dallas in Shanghai on Friday. … Orlando (0-1) returns home to play Flamengo.
KNICKS 124, WIZARDS 121, OT
Rookie Kevin Knox had 13 points and 10 rebounds in the Knicks’ preseason opener.
The No. 9 pick in the draft started and added three assists and two steals in 26 minutes. Lance Thomas scored 12 points.
John Wall played just 9 ½ minutes of Washington’s exhibition opener, scoring six points. Bradley Beal had 11, but shot just 3 for 12 in 22 minutes.
KNICKS: Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing, now coaching Georgetown, spoke to Knicks players earlier Monday. … Damyean Dotson scored 12 of his 14 points in overtime, making all three shots, including two 3-pointers. … Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 11 points. … Second-round pick Mitchell Robinson, who didn’t play in college last season, had six points and seven rebounds. … Rookie Allonzo Trier, signed to a two-way contract, had 13 points. … Courtney Lee sat out with a strained neck.
WIZARDS: Dwight Howard remained out with a back injury that has sidelined him since training camp began. … Kelly Oubre Jr. led Washington with 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists. … Otto Porter Jr. scored 13 points. … Markieff Morris was ejected after exchanging words with Mitchell. … Austin Rivers had seven points off the bench in his first game with the Wizards. … Jordan McRae was 4 for 4 for nine points in OT.
UP NEXT: The Knicks visit Brooklyn on Wednesday. Washington (0-1) hosts Miami on Friday.
PELICANS 116, HAWKS 102
DeAndre’ Bembry had 20 points, five rebounds and four assists and John Collins scored 18 points for Atlanta. Rookie Trae Young had 11 points and eight assists, but was just 5-of-16 shooting.
Anthony Davis led New Orleans with 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 17 minutes, and Jrue Holiday hit 3 of 4 from 3-point range and finished with 13 points. Julius Randle had 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds.
PELICANS: Jahlil Okafor (ankle), Darius Miller (biceps), Nikola Mirotic (Achilles) and Alexis Ajinca (quadriceps) did not play. … New Orleans shot just 36.5 percent (38 of 104) from the field, including 8 of 39 (20.5 percent) from behind the arc.
HAWKS: Justin Anderson (leg) Dewayne Dedmon (ankle), Daniel Hamilton (rotator cuff) and Omari Spellman did not play. … Alex Poythress had 13 points and five rebounds in 14 minutes. … Tyler Dorsey scored 11 points.
UP NEXT: The Pelicans (0-2) travel to New York to play the Knicks on Friday. … Atlanta (1-0) plays the Grizzlies in Memphis on Friday.