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 (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

3. Ayton develops his three-point shot and earns more trips to the free-throw line.

Two aspects that haven’t really developed during Ayton’s four-year career – his three point-shot and capacity to get to the free-throw line.

He currently possesses a deadly mid-range jump shot, taking advantage of the space created by Paul and Devin Booker in the pick-and-roll game. With that and nice touch around the rim, there’s no coincidence as to why he shoots over 60% from the floor.

But the exquisite mid-range jumper has never really developed further out onto the perimeter, taking just 0.3 three-point shots per game in each of the last three seasons.

He actually shot a decent 36.8% from beyond the arc last season. While no one expects him to become a sniper from deep, he should be working towards averaging nearly one attempt per game next season.

Ayton’s work on the interior is good, but his lack of aggression is often a question mark. He can regularly settle for little baby hooks from a few feet, rather than go up emphatically with a dunk or layup attempt.

This is reflected in the lack of free-throw attempts, with his career high 2.7 attempts per game achieved during his rookie season.

If Ayton elevates to over three free-throw attempts per game, shoots nearly one three a game, and yields a couple more field goal attempts, then he likely gets himself to 20 points per game.

A 20 point, ten rebound per game player? That garners All-Star attention should the Suns remain a top seed in the Western Conference as expected.

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All of this really comes down to Ayton’s mentality to improve during the offseason, then the team’s ability to facilitate his improvement once the season rolls around.