Phoenix Suns are changing their perception to the basketball world

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton (Photo by Kim Klement - Pool/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton (Photo by Kim Klement – Pool/Getty Images) /

The Perception of Deandre Ayton

Everyone understands that being drafted before Luka Doncic and Trae Young has shaded exactly how good Deandre Ayton is. His rookie numbers were some of the best ever for a young big. Then year two hype increased only for a monumental suspension that took away any hype that had developed.

Something funny happened after that 25 game suspension. Deandre kept up his strong and growing offensive game, but he suddenly became a much better defender when his understanding of the game improved after an offseason of watching tape.

When Deandre got another offseason of sorts from March through July, he made another jump.
These seeding games have provided Ayton a platform to show the NBA world how quick his feet are, allowing the Suns to switch on defense without worrying about a slow big switching onto a guard or quicker wing. His recovery speed to defend the rim has been outstanding; and his strong rebounding has continued to translate to each game he plays.

The new perception: The Suns have a 21-year-old walking double-double who is extremely efficient on offense. He has a developing 3-point shot that will help create gravity to open lanes for driving and passing. Don’t underestimate how key this is to an efficient offense.

Just as important, the Suns have a defensive center who challenges and blocks shots, sets outstanding screens (thanks for the tutoring Aron Baynes), puts bodies on guys, and intimidates drives to the rim.

Deandre Ayton is now seen as a very good two-way center that can’t be taken off the floor when teams go small. As David Kevin tweeted:

Ayton continues to grow up in front of our eyes, and perhaps more importantly, the basketball world’s eyes.

Speaking of growing up: