Beware Phoenix Suns fans: Deandre Ayton is now an official Stretch Big

Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

In knocking down his first shot from long-range, Deandre Ayton has made it clear he will not be the Phoenix Suns version of Ben Simmons from outside.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it happened. The momentous event occurred last night, in the Phoenix Suns first official scrimmage of the NBA’s Orlando bubble against the Utah Jazz. It was simple, yet glorious.

Allow me to elaborate.

With just about seven minutes left in the third quarter, the Phoenix Suns had the ball and a 10 point lead and were imbounding out of the baseline under their own basket.

Ty Jerome passed the ball into Deandre Ayton, who was parked deep in the far left corner with Rudy Gobert draped all over him. With no hesitation, Ayton rose and fired over Gobert’s outstretched hand.


And there it was, Deandre Ayton’s first official three-point conversion.

You can check it in all its glory below (I mean, just peek real quick, even if you’ve seen it. It’s worth it)

Now, let’s be clear. Ayton’s potential ability to stretch the floor from three has been a tease since he was drafted in 2018. In college, he went 12/35 from the great beyond and there is plenty of video of him knocking in threes during pregame warmups and practices, so it isn’t as if this is Ayton’s first venture.

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However, the difference between what we have seen before and what we witnessed yesterday is the timing. Making a long ball in anything representing professional basketball action is new for Ayton, and to think it was out of a designated baseline out of bounds play no less!

Whether it was a focus on gradual development or Ayton’s reluctance to take those shots in-game, the three-pointer has been an oft-forgotten element of his game. In fact, he had gone 0/15 from behind the arc before Thursday’s scrimmage, and he generally seemed much more comfortable taking 15-20 footers.

If this shot was the first pebble to roll in Ayton’s three-point avalanche, then Phoenix Suns fans should be in for a treat. This potential added dimension from Ayton will also come in very handy right now, with Phoenix missing Aron Baynes and his solid 35% three-point shooting on a robust four attempts a night.

It would also do so much more for Deandre’s game. Imagine pick and rolls with Devin Booker from 25+ feet where Ayton could either roll to the basket or bomb away off of the pick and pop. Imagine the ways the floor would be spread with multiple lineups that would “center” (get it?) around Ayton, Booker, Bridges/Oubre, and one other shooter. Imagine…

Ok, no more imagining. It was just one shot in what is for all intents and purposes a preseason game. Still, if this is the reworking of a player’s skillset before our eyes, then we as Suns fans have been there firsthand to witness it.

Bombs away, Deandre!!!

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