Phoenix Suns: Final regular-season grades

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton  (Photo by Raj Mehta/USA TODAY Sports)
Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton  (Photo by Raj Mehta/USA TODAY Sports) /

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton final grade: B

Now the big man at center. Deandre Ayton finished the second half of the season with 14.4 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks. His field goal percentage rose to 66.3, post All-Star break. That is impressive for any player but it’s a bit inflated since he attempted only nine field goals per game. His efficiency in the paint remains one of his best attributes.

Chris Paul has helped Ayton get easy buckets in the paint but Ayton can’t solely depend on the point guard as his source of points. In the course of the season, Ayton developed his jump shot but it’s his limited field goal attempts that hold him back from getting more points.

This second half of the season Ayton went to the free-throw line two and half times. As a big, athletic, and agile center Ayton’s bread and butter should be aggressively attacking the rim to get points and foul calls. However, this hasn’t been the case. Ayton is a proficient free-throw shooter and getting to the line can help his confidence and grow his scoring rate.

Ayton had short periods where he struggled to make an impact but he had more highs than lows this half. Ayton isn’t the focus of the offense which is OK because the Suns have other scoring options.

His defense has improved a bit this time around. Increasing his blocks Ayton imposed his size onto the opponent’s centers. There’s still room to grow in terms of blocks and once he can do that Ayton will strike fear into opponents looking to drive into the paint for layups.

Phoenix’s starting center performed better following the All-Star break but has plenty of room to improve for he gets a B.

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