Ayton was about what everyone figured
This was it. This was the night Suns fans circled on their calendar. December 17. The night the team’s prized big man made his triumphant return to action after a bone-headed suspension.
They had an idea of what to look for, and while everyone was expecting some rust, they were equally expecting flashes of greatness.
They got a bit of both as his final numbers were solid on their face: 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Watching the game, though, it is hard not to get a little frustrated. The man is an athletic phenomenon for his size, and yet, he insists on settling for jumpers. All. The. Time.
In fact, his first five field goal attempts were jump shots roughly between 15 and 18 feet. He made one of them. Combine that with a few awkward travels and it became clear the big man was experiencing some first-game-back jitters.
Travels aside, his lack of aggression led to his lack of free attempts, once again, from the free throw line. After not taking a free throw in all of preseason and this only other game, he only shot one from the charity stripe this game against the Clippers, and that was on a questionable foul call.
At one point Ayton twisted his ankle, which makes you wonder if that is why he didn’t play in the fourth quarter. In a game that essentially served as a warmup game for him, it was surprising to not see him get more much-needed playing time.