Deandre Ayton and Chavano “Buddy” Hield made their National Basketball Association (NBA) debuts against each other on Monday night.
Ayton won the individual matchup between the two, however, Hield’s team won the game, pulling out a 106-102 victory.
In his first taste of NBA action, Ayton had 24 points, nine rebounds and three blocks for the Phoenix Suns, while Hield had six points, four rebounds, and three rebounds for the Sacramento Kings.
“This game was really fun, especially when you work so hard in the offseason and get yourself in NBA-ready shape,” Ayton said about his preseason debut. “You have a lot of fun when you’re not fatigued.
“I think I played alright. Obviously, coach didn’t want to overwork us too early, but it was good to get out there. I’m just continuing to improve on the pick and roll because it comes so fast at this level. That, and just doing some of the things that some of the older players keep telling me to do.”
Kings coach David Joerger also shared his early thoughts on Ayton after seeing play in person.
“Ayton is going to be really good,” Joerger said.
“He’s going to be a tough deal for the next 10 to 12 years.”
Yogi Ferrell had 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting to lead the Kings, and Willie Cauley-Stein added 14 points and 12 rebounds for Sacramento.
Ayton missed his final four field-goal attempts and went 2-4 from the free-throw line with an offensive foul in the final minute.
The Kings will travel to Los Angeles to play the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, while Phoenix hosts the New Zealand Breakers on Wednesday.