How Phoenix Suns big man Deandre Ayton becomes an All-Star next season

Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton
Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports /

2. Ayton finds more opportunity within the Suns offense.

This is a more difficult one because it’s reliant firstly on his teammates, but more importantly, head coach Monty Williams and his capacity to draw up plays for Ayton.

The relationship between coach and player was a major talking point in the aftermath of the team’s playoff exit. Ayton was pulled from the floor with eight minutes to play in the third quarter of game seven against the Mavericks, only seeing a total of 17 minutes in what resulted as the Suns final game of the season.

While Ayton has become a much more efficient offensive player next to Paul, he has taken a step back in shot attempts. He took 14.9 shots per game in 2019-20, but that’s dropped to 10 and then 12 in the two seasons since Paul’s arrival.

Ayton could take exception to this, especially given he’s shot over 62% from the field in those two seasons. Can he retain this impressive percentage while the Suns find him another 2-3 shots per game?

In a league that continues to prioritize perimeter play, this could prove difficult. Just like he’s yet to join the elite company of defensive bigs, he too isn’t in the same breath as Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid when it comes to offensive production.

No one is expecting him to become that type of player, one who the offense revolves around. But he and the Suns should aim for him to become a 20+ point per game scorer.