The Phoenix Suns play the Dallas Mavericks Tuesday night in a game that will feature Deandre Ayton and Luka Doncic. It would be nice if Ayton played like he was worth the pick.
The comparisons have been non-stop since day one, but lately, the regret has been worn on the sleeves of vocal Phoenix Suns fans, and it has certainly has not gone unnoticed. There have been articles written and tweets tweeted. Regardless of how it is exuded, the Luka Doncic envy is real, and its burden is placed largely upon the massive shoulders of Deandre Ayton.
This burden, mind you, is unfair to Ayton. The #1 overall pick has had his peaks and this troughs through his first season and a half, but by no means is he anything close to a bust. One would think Sacramento Kings fans would be much more up-in-arms over their selection of Marvin Bagley III over Luka than Suns fans would be for drafting Deandre Ayton.
Yet, alas, here we are, with a large portion of the fan base oozing Doncic trade-remorse, and scoffing at Ayton in the process.
You know what I would like to see? I’d like Deandre Ayton tp take all this over-the-top criticism personally, and play motivated and downright angry Tuesday night against the Dallas Mavericks.
I’d like to see him play with the size of chip on his shoulder only he could carry, and prove to the “You should have been Luka,” part of the world that the Phoenix Suns did not make a mistake in drafting him #1 overall.
Of course, one game won’t put a rest to the, “Suns should have drafted Luka,” chatter, but it would at least prove he is capable of turning on the aggression and playing with fire when he wants.
I’m not talking about hitting all his 17-footers either.
One of the knocks on Ayton is his preference to shoot a fade away mid-range jumper instead of making an assertive move to the goal, going up strong, and dunking in someone’s face. And maybe, just maybe, getting a foul out of it.
He has shown flashes of aggressive play here and there and even verbalized his need to do it more. This is likely caused fans to grow more frustrated with him because we all know he’s capable of it, he just doesn’t do it consistently.
Tuesday night’s game against the Dallas Mavericks would be a perfect opportunity for him to show he can be the monster on the court every Suns fan wants him to be. While it may not lead to a 40 point triple-double Luka is known to do, a paint-dominant 25-20 game would be a bright spot in this young man’s career.
Ayton was suspended the last time the Suns played the Mavericks this season, so this is the first real chance Ayton will have to face Luka since Luka really became Luka and the draft envy really became prevalent.
So, let’s see it, Deandre. Play angry. Play like you’ve got something to prove. Maybe even dunk in Luka’s face. It would go a long way to (temporarily) silence the haters.