This will be the hardest part of Ayton’s return to monitor from a fans perspective. It is also the part I am least worried about becoming any sort of problem. In fact I would pretty much guarantee there will be no problems between Ayton and his teammates, but these are the Phoenix Suns we can never be too sure.
One of the most cliche sports sayings out there goes something like, ‘the best ability is availability.’ Which is true, in many ways, if someone is not on the court playing in the games with you every day then what they say begins the lose value.
In terms of actual on-court production Deandre Ayton has produced as much as you and I the last 25 games, and that is through no fault but his own. That last part is what makes the situation unique, that and because of Ayton’s importance to the team.
If teammates can not trust someone to remain on the court while not injured that could lead to less trust on the court with that player. At the very least there will be a transition period to build up the trust and routines that teammates on playoff teams have.
The success of Baynes and to a lesser degree the team as a whole work against Ayton as he returns. Although Ayton will almost certainly start it is not as if Aron Baynes did anything to lose his starting job.
Losing a starting spot after playing well to a guy who got suspended on his own would make some players mad. Although based on everything we have heard from Baynes he seems to understand the situation he is being put into and is going to be a great teammate about it.
Ayton’s unique position as a budding star on a young team makes his case an outlier but normally players who get suspended as long or longer than he did are not with their team for multiple seasons after that.
It is just something to be alert of in case their are signs that the situation might be heading south. Although again, Ayton’s case is special, and it is most likely that he returns, integrates well, and remains with the Phoenix Suns for years to come.