Phoenix Suns: 3 Key Players that Will Make or Break the 2021-22 Season

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton
Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Phoenix Suns Make or Break Players for 2021-22: Deandre Ayton

Deandre Ayton clearly resembled a guy last year who changed everything for his team when on the floor.

During the Finals, Phoenix more or less lost the series during the sets when foul trouble forced Ayton to the bench. The Suns looked lost without him especially at the defensive end, as they took punch after punch down low from the Milwaukee Bucks.

At the same time though, things absolutely flipped for Phoenix whenever Ayton entered the game, with the Suns transforming into a much more well-rounded team. This occurred not only throughout the Finals, but during the team’s entire playoff run, as Ayton singlehandedly beat the Los Angeles Clippers during Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, and shut down MVP Nikola Jokic right before that.

This offseason, the Suns signed JaVale McGee to provide some assistance for Ayton. But as an aging veteran who averaged a weak 14.7 minutes per game last season, he only offers so much at this point.

So with that considered, Ayton looks due for yet another season as this team’s anchor, especially if additional big man Dario Saric sits the entire year out to recover from his torn ACL.