Watching Luka Doncic is painful as a Phoenix Suns fan

Luka Doncic, LeBron James, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Luka Doncic, LeBron James, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Luka Doncic is making history while Deandre Ayton, the Phoenix Suns’ former first overall pick, is nowhere near the court.

I will admit whole-heartedly that I supported the Phoenix Suns’ selection of Deandre Ayton over Luka Doncic for numerous reasons and wrote about it plenty of times.

In fact, I will continue to stubbornly state that I am still a proponent of the decision from the perspective that I held at that time: it will be easier for the Phoenix Suns to find a point guard who can run an offensive effectively than it would be to find a dominant center.

James Jones has actually proven this to a degree with his acquisition of Ricky Rubio (who is easily the most important add he made all offseason).

Granted, my argument took a bit of a hit when the Dallas Mavericks traded for Kristaps Porzingis (I hate  that it was not the Phoenix Suns who found a way to acquire him), who, while not a true center, is tall enough to play the position on both ends of the floor and easily skilled enough to handle playing center in the modern NBA if necessary.

That said, Deandre Ayton is still extremely skilled himself.

There is no reason to believe that he will not be great for a very long time.

If he only improves two specific aspects of his game (that in all sincerity should be very  easy to improve in these early years of his career if he specifically sets his mindset to do so), he will jump up to become one of the top-three centers in the NBA and be a force that most teams will have no true defense against.

And yet…that is all hope and speculation, and while it could  all happen, what we know  is that Luka Doncic is making history while Deandre Ayton is suspended for diluting his system after taking something else  illegally…

On November 1, Luka Doncic made NBA history (along with LeBron James) when Luka recorded 30 points, 10 rebounds, and 15 assists, not only becoming the youngest player in NBA history to record a 30 points triple-double, but also joining James as the first opposing pair to record triple-doubles in the same game with at least 15 assists (James had 39 points, 12 rebounds, and 16 assists).

The (fair) argument last season for why Deandre Ayton did not have any particular breakout games while Luka had them fairly frequently, is because Ayton must have the ball fed to him while Luka has control of the rock on almost every possession.

Ayton’s number of possessions in the post were supposed to go up this season with the addition of Rubio, and based on each of their opening night statistics of (Ayton finished with 18 points on 9-14 shooting while Rubio recorded 11 assists), there is a very good chance that that will still be the case as soon as Ayton returns.

But therein lies the problem at the moment: while Luka Doncic is tearing it up, fans cannot even glimpse Ayton on the court.

Luka looks like a sure fire all-star (he is averaging a stat line that would generally only have been reserved for Russell Westbrook and James Harden, 26.2 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 8.4 assists through five games this season), while Ayton is still trying to pee out whatever it was that he had previously ingested and was trying to cover up.

Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns /

Phoenix Suns

Here is the crazy thing though which should make Suns fans at least modestly happy with the Ayton over Luka at the moment: even with Luka’s insane individual stats, the Mavericks and Suns have the same 3-2 record through five games, and Phoenix has not only played four of those games without Ayton, but have only lost their two games by a single point each (Dallas lost that Lakers matchup by nine points in overtime).

It’s not like Luka is making the Mavericks world-beaters at the moment, and one of the flaws that some scouts claimed he’d have when entering the NBA was his defense, and while he is only one man, Dallas is allowing 6.2 more points per game to their opponents than the Suns are (112.4 to 106.2).

One cannot also say “what if the Suns had Luka instead of Ayton and Rubio on this same roster?”

It is an interesting thought experiment, however one that does not live in a world of reality.

Had the Phoenix Suns drafted Luka Doncic instead of Deandre Ayton (or even if they had traded back a couple of spots and acquired another asset instead of just selecting him first overall outright), then not only would this roster be totally different, but who knows: Igor Kokoskov might even still be the head coach.


The NBA world that we live in now would be totally different, and as far as we know, Luka’s Suns would be no better, if not worse, than Ayton’s (sort of) Suns are today.

So for now, all we can do is count down the games until Deandre Ayton returns (21 more as of the morning of November 2), hope that the team continues to remain competitive in his absence (they are 2-2 with him out thus far), pray that Ayton uses this time away from competitive play extremely wisely and adds another dimension or two to his personal game that hadn’t been added during the offseason, and watch Luka Doncic from afar, hoping that when Ayton makes his comeback, he reaches a similar all-star level sooner rather than later.

Deandre Ayton must comeback with an improved game. dark. Next

Luka Doncic is kicking the NBA’s butt while Deandre Ayton has to stay away.

From afar, seeing Luka succeed is extremely painful for Phoenix Suns fans. Hopefully upon Ayton’s return, he makes all things in that manner better.