Monty Williams is going to make Deandre Ayton a star

Monty Williams Phoenix Suns (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Monty Williams Phoenix Suns (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

During his introductory press conference on Tuesday May 21, Monty Williams made a comment that should make Deandre Ayton (and his fans) very excited.

The Phoenix Suns selected Deandre Ayton first overall in 2018, and fans believed that the franchise had just taken the next great star big man.

Heck – Ayton himself said that he and Devin Booker were going to form Shaq/Kobe 2.0, arguably the best big/wing combo in NBA history.

Such was the belief that people didn’t just question whether Ayton was going to be the franchise’s fourth Rookie of the Year award winner, but whether or not he could be a unanimous selection.

Then the 2018-19 season came and went, and while Ayton statistically  still deserves to be the league’s Rookie of the Year over Luka Doncic and Trae Young, but the big games that were expected to lead SportsCenter a couple of times, as well as the leap in the team’s regular season record, never materialized.

There are two very specific and distinct reasons for that, both of which can be rectified this offseason (and one that may already have).

The first being, Ayton needs a strong point guard on the roster, someone who knows not only how to lead and organize an offense but also get him the ball in the post at the appropriate time and spot – something that eluded Ayton the entire year.

Without sounding as redundant as the Department of Redundancy Department, time and time again, Ayton either anchored himself in the post only to have the pass miss him (sometimes by a mile), or far too often a player (not named Devin Booker), who on most teams would be no higher than fifth in the offensive pecking order, ignored their potential star center and went about the offense as if he didn’t exist.

Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns /

Phoenix Suns

While this issue has not been resolved as of yet, it seems extremely hard to believe that the 2019-20 season will not open without that desperately needed point guard somehow being acquired.

The second reason that Deandre Ayton did not become the star right out of the gates that it seemed so assuredly that he would, was because the offense didn’t go through him, a major issue that former head coach Igor Kokoskov never rectified but that it appears Monty Williams will resolve on the first day of practice with the installation of his offense.

"“We will play through Devin [Booker] and Deandre [Ayton].”– Monty Williams at Introductory Press Conference"

What a novel idea!

Well, not really, and truthfully, no disrespect to Igor who has been touted as an offensive guru, but he was never given the point guard to run his offense the way we have to assume Monty will be provided this upcoming season.

Igor never appeared to mandate that the ball go through  Ayton (if nothing else, at least after it went through Booker first), and his teammates never seemed to care. You would figure that after the first handful of games seeing players ignore the rookie, that Igor would have forced  the issue in practice and in every timeout.

And yet, it appears, he didn’t.

Far, far  too often Ayton would have a big few minutes or even a huge individual quarter, and then totally disappear. Eddie Johnson during the game and Tom Chambers after, would regularly comment about how Ayton would be ignored in the offense never giving him a chance to make his mark.

Imagine if Phoenix Suns point guards had ignored Amar’e Stoudemire – or if Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher had shut out Shaquille O’Neal.

Ayton managed to still average 12.3 shots per game his rookie season (making an astounding 58.5% of them), but that number is far below what he could – if not should  have averaged – had the offense been mandated to pass through him more often.

With Monty’s comment, I expect to see Ayton’s field goal attempts sky rocket this season to at least 20 per game, which will easily push his scoring average to at least 20 per game – the very numbers many Suns fans felt he would average right away.

This will be a huge boon to Ayton’s personal statistics and begin to make him far more of a recognizable player in the league, hopefully getting him to the point where his games will (at least on occasion) lead SportsCenter.

Must Read. Deandre Ayton should absolutely win the Rookie of the Year Award. light

While words are meaningless without action, I firmly believe that Monty Williams will  push the offense through Deandre Ayton as stringently as he will push it through Devin Booker, finally making the pair the dynamic duo that we all hoped  they’d be when Ayton was taken first overall.

If this is so, I have no doubt in my mind too that the Phoenix Suns will finally start winning more games – and who knows, help make Ayton and Booker that next Hall of Fame duo that Ayton so brazenly predicted they would be.