The Phoenix Suns fired their coach after three games into the season. They went on to finish with a 21-61 record and got the number 1 pick in the NBA draft. With that pick they selected Deandre Ayton so all eyes will be on him this season.
The Suns were in tank mode early on last season. They held Devin Booker to just 54 games. They were last in both offense and defense. Ayton was a good pick because he gives them an inside presence to play off Booker.
While at Arizona Ayton averaged 20 ppg and 11 rpg. He didn’t have the best showing at Las Vegas Summer League. Phoenix had some bad guards and could barely get him the ball. He has some touch from mid-range and is a decent passer. He has a massive frame, moves well but is not great on the defensive end.
Ayton will have a great mentor in Tyson Chandler. Chandler has had a solid career after a slow start, eventually winning defensive player of the year in 2011. Keep an eye out on the Booker-Ayton Pick-and-Roll this season and if he catches those lobs like Chandler.
At times it looks like Ayton does not play with enough force. With his body he should be doing more around the basket and more on the defensive end. He doesn’t have that intensity yet. This Suns team will struggle because they are so young and will be facing tough competition in the West.
If Ayton works hard he should easily fall into a double-double in his rookie season. He will struggle on the defensive end and on rotations with all the 3-point shooting in the league. He will have his moments and be in the conversation for rookie of the year. Despite the other young big men on this team Ayton should get the majority of the minutes, with plenty chances to learn.