Diuretic flushes the Phoenix Suns’ momentum via a Deandre Ayton suspension

Deandre Ayton Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Deandre Ayton Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The NBA suspended Deandre Ayton 25 games for violating the league’s banned substance policy by testing positive for a diuretic. The event has flushed the momentum the Phoenix Suns had after their big win on opening night.

Baseball has steroids. Cycling has red blood cells. Football has all kinds of mind-altering substances. Basketball, well, doesn’t really have a drug of choice. Or any drug problem for that matter. So of all things, the NBA suspended Phoenix Suns center, Deandre Ayton, for 25 games over a diuretic.

Usually Adrian Wojnarowski reports something cool and exciting. This time, not so much.

You may be familiar with the term, “diuretic” because your grandmother calls it her “water pill,” and your grandpa might call it his “wee-wee pill” just to be funny.

I won’t bore you with how diuretics work; there are many varieties and many of them work differently. But basically they drain excess fluid from the body by making you pee it out.

They’re like laxatives, but for urine.

Why would someone need to take a diuretic?

Clinically, they are most commonly used to lower blood pressure or reduce internal swelling caused by kidney or liver ailments.

In other words, a 21-year-old world-class athlete has no clinical reason to take a diuretic.

If I put my pharmacist hat on for a moment, there are two valid reasons Deandre Ayton would feel the need to take a diuretic.

He could have been trying to lose weight a in a hurry. Diuretics will pull whatever excess water from the body they can, so if you need to lose a few pounds of water weight, pop a hydrochlorothiazide.

It is the pharmacological equivalent of sitting in a sauna for a few hours, or walking around outside in the Phoenix Summer, minus the sunburn.

The second reason he would take it, and this is why they are banned, is because it flushes the system of many other ingested chemicals that may prove troublesome on a drug test. It is by no means foolproof, but any substance eliminated by the kidneys will be excreted much quicker after a taking diuretic.

Quick aside to all those out there worried about passing a drug test: the triglyceride-lowering medication, Niacin, does not “flush” the system. Sure, it causes “flushing,” but the kind of flushing that makes your face red, not the kind that makes you pee a lot. Asking the pharmacy staff for Niacin for such purposes will give you them a joke to retell for years.

Back to actual diuretics, it is not that the diuretic itself is a performance enhancer (unless you attribute the extra bounce in Ayton’s step to a few less pounds of water weight), having it in your system looks like you’re covering up something else.

It is sort of like how having bloody gloves on top of a bloody axe tucked away in your garage isn’t technically illegal, but, dude. What are you trying to hide?

Here was Ayton’s statement on the matter:

"“I want to apologize to my family, the entire Suns organization, my teammates, partners, our fans and the Phoenix community. This was an unintentional mistake and unfortunately I put something in my body that I was completely unaware of.”"

Every bone in my body wants to believe this really was an unintentional mistake by a 21-year-old kid who took the wrong GNC supplement or something, but the needle on my internal polygraph is dancing around like hyper toddler after reading that.

Here is the thing: most of those herbal diuretics you can find at GNC or CVS are either largely worthless or just caffeine. There may be some diuretic effects from a few of them, but any diuretic worth consuming for medical purposes is by prescription only.

That means it must be written by a physician if you’re an average person. I have no idea how someone like Deandre Ayton would obtain a prescription diuretic, but on the surface, it seems like he would have the means.

And if it was a prescription diuretic causing all this hassle, well, there is no way a young adult goes through the trouble of obtaining it just to consume it “unintentionally.”

Here is what James Jones said about it:

"“On behalf of the Phoenix Suns organization, (coach) Monty Williams and I are disappointed in the actions by Deandre Ayton that led to his testing positive for a banned diuretic and subsequent suspension by the NBA. This does not uphold the standards and principles we have set for the team…his actions are not taken lightly, and we are committed to ensuring that Deandre understands the profound impact it has had on the team, organization, and Suns community.”"

Does that sound like a general manager who believes this was an innocent ingestion? Something that could have happened to anyone who wasn’t overly steeped the banned substance list?

I definitely do not want to speculate. This very well could have been an honest mistake. For everyone’s sake, I hope it was. Regardless, it happened. So, what happens now?

Tactically, the Phoenix Suns will work with the NBA and take the matter to arbitration. There is a very strong likelihood the suspension will be dramatically lowered. How much is anyone’s guess.

Practically, this diuretic did more than flush Ayton’s system. It flushed all the momentum the Phoenix Suns built up after a blowout win over the Sacramento Kings on opening night.

Just when Suns fans felt like they might be able to peek their head out from the gopher hole they stuck it in last season, the team’s star sophomore had to go and something this sophomoric.

Next. 2018 and 2019 opening nights were totally different. dark

It will now be up to Aron Baynes to come in and establish a post presence for the Phoenix Suns in Ayton’s absence. Frank Kaminksy may be called upon for extra minutes as well.

However, it will be on the whole team (really, I’m looking at you, Kelly Oubre Jr.) to keep everyone fired up after their win and regain their early-season momentum heading into Denver Friday night.

This is a setback, but something the Valley Boyz can overcome.