Deandre Ayton quietly just had his best game yet

Phoenix Suns Deandre Ayton (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns Deandre Ayton (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Phoenix Suns rookie Deandre Ayton has the size and skills to have a quiet 20/15 game. Just wait until he decides he’s going to truly dominate.

The Phoenix Suns have been desperate to find that second star to take the offensive load and overall scoring pressure off of Devin Booker.

Deandre Ayton was drafted first overall for that very reason, and in two of his first three games he has shown that he can definitely become a high stats player, nearly without even trying.

Ayton’s body and physique will almost always be bigger than his opponent. He will almost always be more athletic than the bigs he will go up against. He will almost always have the knowledge in his mind to do this job and do so effectively and well.

When he does put everything together, when he realizes and fully accepts/appreciates that he, Deandre Ayton, deserves to be in the NBA; deserves to be called a “pro;” has the ability to mow over opponents for both rebounds and points when he needs to; he will truly shine.

But right now, while he’s still getting his feet wet, figuring out the job, and learning all of the nuances that there is to being a professional athlete, he is going to have a lot of quiet nights.

Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns /

Phoenix Suns

Quiet nights like game three of the regular season against the Golden State Warriors.

Deandre Ayton finished with career-highs in both scoring and rebounding: 20 points and 14 boards.

Why do I say quiet?

Because the Suns were blown out.

And he’s not a ball-handler.

Deandre Ayton is never going to walk the ball up the court. He’s never going to set the offense. He is never going to call for an iso on the wing (if he does any of this, the step aside Shaquille O’Neal, this is Wilt Chamberlain territory).

Ayton can only get the ball when someone passes it to him, most likely in the post, and will otherwise have to fight hard for the stats that make him one of the most valuable commodities in the NBA: a center with a mid-range to outside shot.

Oh, and shoot free throws. Through three games he’s shooting a cool 91.7%. He shot 73.3% at Arizona. Shaquille O’Neal shot 52.7% for his career. Hakeem Olajuwon shot 71.2%. David Robinson shot 73.6%.

Against Golden State, as in his first two games, most of the points and rebounds that he accumulated came in the natural flow of the game and not by his demand.

Against the Warriors, a couple of rebounds absolutely came because he fought hard to control them, for a moment or two letting out his inner Dennis Rodman.

For the most part, though, the ball fell to him and he happened to be the tallest person in the vicinity of the carom.

Games like the one against the Warriors are going to happen more often than not this season.

Devin Booker is going to be the focal point of the offense, the shooters and going to shoot, and Ayton will get his as it comes to him.

As a potential dominant center, if I have one worry about Ayton it’s that so far he will  only let the ball come to him on rebounds; he let’s his shots come to him rather than barking at his teammates to throw the ball to him the instant he is in position in the post and go to work; he often lets the defender move out of the way for him; on defense he stays out of their way.

Soon I would expect to see him grab rebounds from the grasp of his opponents, burning into their minds who is in control; demand the ball, barking at his teammates to throw him the rock the instant he is in position in the post and let him go to work; move the defender out of the way whether it’s for a board or points; step in the way of a driving offensive player, picking up a foul here or there but teaching them that he will always  be there to absorb their hit if they dare come through his lane.

Next. If the Phoenix Suns' number is 30, then why not 40 3's a game?. dark

It is far, far, far  too early to believe anything of Ayton other than that he has a fantastically great career ahead of him with the Phoenix Suns. I wouldn’t be worried about Ayton’s future in Phoenix unless he had two consecutive bombed seasons to start out, something that after three games I believe to be entirely unlikely.

For now though we will have to sit through quiet 20/14 games and wonder afterwards “how did he do that?” then smile because, that means he’s really good, and those games where he decides he needs to be absolutely dominant for him to win, are following right behind.