Phoenix Suns: Deandre Ayton Puts up Historic Stat Despite Loss to Kings

Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

With a long-range missile from the left wing, fired off at the perfect time, Harrison Barnes and the Sacramento Kings sunk the Phoenix Suns last night.

Catching the ball off an abrupt inbound pass, Barnes’s shot lacked promise at first, but it mattered not. His jumper eventually whipped through the net, lighting up the scoreboard with a 110-107 score in Sacramento’s favor.

Right before Barnes’s crowd silencer, the Suns looked primed to force an overtime period and eventually steal the game away from the Kings. They pilled up 31 points during the fourth quarter to climb back into a game that looked lost, even putting together a 12-2 run during the period’s final three minutes.

Although Devin Booker provided the late-game spark which almost granted Phoenix a comeback victory, eventually finishing with 31 points, Deandre Ayton‘s historic performance resembles the brighter “silver lining” behind this painful loss.

Adding 21 points and 21 rebounds, while shooting 9-12 from the field, Ayton became the first Sun in over 25 years to shoot above 75.0 percent from the field and reach 20+ point and rebound totals during a contest. He also contributed with a block, steal, and assist.

A few weeks ago, the Suns neglected to offer Ayton an extension to his rookie deal, making him the first top pick to not receive such an offer since Anthony Bennet. Although Ayton never needed to come through with a performance like this to prove his worthiness for a max extension, this one surely helped, with him now carving his name into Phoenix’s history books.

A victory for the Suns over their inter-division rivals would have been the preferable thing for Ayton to walk away with last night, but his camp must feel highly about his individual accomplishment. With Ayton set to become a restricted free agent this summer, Phoenix owns the option to match any offer made for him by an opposing team, certainly still with a solid chance to lock up their big man for the foreseeable future.

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But with Cameron Johnson also up for extension, and with Phoenix’s already leaking cap considered, doing so might still become difficult. However, if Ayton continues to pile up historic achievements such as this one, the Suns front office will have no choice but to fill his wallet when the time comes.