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Deandre Ayton sets goal only twice achieved in Suns’ history for his rookie season

NBA: Summer League-Dallas Mavericks at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Expectations are high for Deandre Ayton and the Phoenix Suns as the top pick in last month’s NBA Draft enters his rookie season. And he’s fine with that.

In fact the front court piece that many Suns fans are banking on being the answer to closing out a historic postseason drought is putting some very lofty goals for himself. That is an All-Star Game appearance in season one.

“I’m trying to be Rookie of the Year and the first rookie [since Blake Griffin] to be an All-Star,” Ayton told Yahoo Sports this week. “Just putting that pressure on me so I can go hard everyday. I won’t necessarily say it’s pressure. I’ll just say it’s one of my goals or one of the achievements I hope to accomplish. It’s no pressure at all, it’s just, you’ve got to be in the gym, you’ve got to work, because if you don’t, it’s going to be exposed.”

If Ayton does garner All-Star honors in 2019, he’d be the first Sun to participate in February’s showcase since Steve Nash in 2012. His was the last in a run that included 19 selections since 2000 All-Star Game.

In total 45 players have been selected to the All-Star Game in their rookie seasons. It’s happened twice in Suns history. Alvan Adams got the invite, the only of his 13-year career, in 1976. Two years later Walter Davis was honored. It was the first of four straight ASG selections, he’d be named to the team six times in his career.

Both players were named NBA Rookie of the Year.

Devin Booker’s already a guarantee to be an All-Star next season. I hadn’t considered Ayton yet, but since he brought it up, I think it’s a great idea. Let’s send a pair of Suns to Charlotte.