Photo: Portland Trail Blazers/YouTube screenshot

Former No. 1 draft pick Deandre Ayton, now a part of the Trail Blazers, holds a strong belief in his capability to emerge as one of the NBA’s top centers, as expressed by Portland head coach Chauncey Billups.

Billups, optimistic about Ayton’s potential, noted the player’s current motivation and determination to elevate his game.

“He seems to me to have a motivation about him right now. I think it’s good. I’m excited to have him, I’m excited to try to do the best that I can, make him better. He believes he could be one of the best centers in the league. I completely believe him,” the coach said.

Billups also highlighted the transformative effect that a change of scenery can have for a player, especially one previously part of a star-studded team like the Suns, where constraints might have limited their full potential.

“I’m going to believe in him. I’m going to give him the responsibility to do more, but it’s all going to be based on his commitment level and what he wants to do. I love where he’s at right now, his mindspace,” Billups added.