Phoenix Suns: 3 Things Learned from the Jazz vs Clippers Series

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
Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

Phoenix Suns Center Deandre Ayton once again is key on both ends of the floor

Very wisely, the Clippers went small in order to keep Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert out of the paint during the Western Conference Semifinals. Standing in no man’s land, Gobert was unable to commit on closing out against LA’s multiple 3-point shooters during the entire series. This really hurt Utah in the long run.

Again going back to Game 6, Gobert got dunked and scored on numerous times, leading to a team low -24 net rating. Suns center Deandre Ayton may face a similar situation if he fails to play this one right.

Ayton however is more comfortable guarding all positions, and can play on the perimeter as well. He is quicker and more athletic than Gobert, thus giving himself more versatility as the anchor of Phoenix’s defense. Defending pick and rolls, and drive and kicks will be key for Ayton. The Suns too should be prepared to match a smaller lineup and adjust on the fly, something Utah could not do.

As a very efficient scorer, Ayton is also better offensively than Gobert, and the Suns should look to find him in the paint with a mismatch. Taking advantage of Ayton’s size on the offensive end can lead to countless easy points and offensive fluidity if the shots are not falling for Phoenix. He is simply too important to not game plan around both offensively and defensively.