Phoenix Suns: 3 most important matchups against the Lakers

Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker (Photo by Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)
Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker (Photo by Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Phoenix Suns key matchup No. 3: Deandre Ayton/Jae Crowder and Anthony Davis/Andre Drummond

After watching Anthony Davis gradually shake off the rust these past couple of weeks, it’s clear he’s going to be a major point of focus.

While he’s undeniably an elite talent, though, his propensity to relax occasionally should provide the Suns ammunition to attack.

That means Deandre Ayton and his young legs — assuming the knee is at full health, of course — can help, though his primary matchup responsibility is likely to be against Drummond.

Ayton will need to challenge the L.A. centers by running the court a full speed and being prepared to catch and finish on the break.

A tired Andre Drummond is not an effective Andre Drummond.

Ayton’s offense around the basket is likely to be neutralized — he doesn’t do well against physical centers of a his size — so a major effort is required in key areas such as offensive rebounding and midrange shooting.

Crowder brings a Draymond Green element to the Anthony Davis situation. He’ll certainly need some help when Davis posts up or executes a drive to the rim, but he can also provide hurdles for Davis while the Suns are on offense.

Any success Crowder enjoys at stretching the defense via 3-point shooting will pay off. Getting Davis to chase him around screens and down the court on fast breaks could serve to weaken a couple of areas in which Davis already struggles: He’s a 26.7% shooter from long range and he averages fewer than eight rebounds per game.

Crowder hits his 3s, Ayton hits his midrange shots, Drummond and Davis find foul trouble and tire out easily … who knows? This matchup could fall in the Suns’ favor if everything goes right.