Phoenix Suns Player Grades Through First Quarter of 2021-22 Season

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

Grading Phoenix Suns Starters: Deandre Ayton

Current stats: 16.3 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 61.6 eFG%

Plenty of ambiguity surrounded Ayton after he failed to attain a max extension this past offseason. Many questioned how that might affect his commitment level to the team.

But the word for him was, and continues to be “consistency.”

Since Phoenix’s late November game against the Spurs, where he put up 21 points and 14 rebounds, Ayton has played with some serious ferocity. His teammates fully trust him at the offensive end, mainly including Paul and Booker, who grant him to earn more and more opportunities.

He averaged 17.4 points per game since that contest, and keeps generating offense for those around him by passing well to put more stress on opposing defenses. Ayton also always carried talent as a rim attacker, but he looks even better this season, receiving hit ahead passes while making great transition cuts each night.

In general, his energy seems to have spiked, most evident by his efforts against Golden State last week. He defended in space on Curry, thwarted rack attacks from Wiggins, and dominated the paint at both ends.

His free throw numbers look a bit unattractive right now, with him currently shooting 61.7 percent from the stripe. It does not feel too concerning, but he must regain some comfort and rhythm from there.

Regardless, Ayton keeps proving his worth on a nightly basis, doing more of the little things and  embodying the force both he and his team need him to be.

Grade: B+