Phoenix Suns: 3 Players With Everything to Prove in Playoffs

Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton (Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton (Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton
Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Phoenix Suns with something to prove – Deandre Ayton

When you’re taken as the first overall pick, your team often does so with the belief that you’ll one day lead the franchise deep into the postseason. As that character for the Suns, Deandre Ayton absolutely makes this list, looking to justify Phoenix’s choice to take him at number one, which at this point feels like a mistake given the emergences of Luka Doncic and Trae Young.

Although not necessarily seen as a disappointment or “bust,” Ayton has still yet to really blossom into a star. But if the Suns hope secure their first ever NBA Championship this summer, they need Ayton to step up and assume that role.

We know what Chris Paul and Booker offer, but Ayton remains a bit of a question mark. During Phoenix’s memorable bubble run last year when they won all eight games, Ayton flashed his talents with two 20+ point and 10+ rebound games, but also slowed down during the final three contests, averaging 9.6 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.

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Now with his first chance to partake in some playoff basketball, Ayton can silence his critics by taking his game to another level. Playing with greater aggression remains the easiest way for Ayton to accomplish this. In games won by Phoenix this year, Ayton averages 10.3 field goal attempts compared to his 9.1 attempts in losses. Both the Suns and Ayton himself need a good run from him, so keep an eye on how he responds.