Deandre Ayton wasn’t afraid to shoot the 3 in college, but, disappointingly, it hasn’t been part of his game with the Phoenix Suns.
Phoenix Suns rookie center Deandre Ayton has looked good in some ways and bad in others in roughly his first quarter season in the NBA. His post play and efficiency have been the major positives, while his defense and aggressiveness have been the major negatives. But there’s another part of his game that his been a bit disappointing so far: his unwillingness to take 3s.
Last year, at the University of Arizona, Ayton took one 3 per game (35 in 35 games), and he shot them at a decent 34.3 percent clip (12-35). The NBA 3 point line is a bit further, but his nice shooting touch made it was reasonable to hope the 3 point shot would become a part of his game in the pros, especially when he’s wide open. But unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case.
Through 19 games, Ayton has attempted just two 3s, and he’s missed them both. The worry is less that they haven’t gone in and more that he’s only taken two. It’s a part of his game the team would love to see him build upon moving forward.
If Ayton could consistently make the 3 point shot, it would obviously be huge for the team. The Suns would benefit from more 3 point shooting, and if Ayton could shoot around the percentage he shot in college, it would still be relatively efficient. Hitting some big shots would also hopefully spark more aggression from Ayton on both ends.
But even if the longer 3 point line drops his percentage to around 30, merely taking them would be big for Ayton. Taking between one and two per game would force defenders to close out on him and spread the floor for the team’s good wing slashers. And it would open up plenty of opportunities off the dribble for the talented and capable Ayton.
Coming out of college, it seemed possible the 3 point shot could be a part of Deandre Ayton’s offensive game. So far, that hasn’t been the case at all. But moving forward, it would benefit the Phoenix Suns if Ayton could work the 3 into his arsenal.