Phoenix Suns: Predicting player stats for 2022-23 – Deandre Ayton

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

Across September, Valley of the Suns will deliver predicted stat lines for all 16 players currently contracted to the Phoenix Suns for the 2022-23 season.

Putting failed contract extension negotiations behind him, Deandre Ayton produced the most efficient season of his career in 2021-22. However, the culmination of the Phoenix Suns season left a sour taste in fans mouths, with Ayton a key culprit after being benched in the second half of the game seven loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

Even with a new four-year, $133 million contract in place, there’s an element of tension between the franchise and their former number one overall pick. How that transpires as the season progresses may determine the fate of Phoenix’s season.

Big man Deandre Ayton presents as the genuine wildcard for a Phoenix Suns team looking to remain in championship contention.

Describing Ayton as a wildcard may not be fair; he’s been an incredibly consistent player for the Suns across his four-year career. But the off-court issues, stemming from the on-court ones at the end of last season, cannot be ignored. The 24-year-old has a wide-ranging outlook for this season – he could easily develop into a first-time All-Star, or he could just as easily request a trade at some point after January 15.

From a playing standpoint, Ayton still has strides to make on both ends of the floor. While he’s incredibly efficient and shot a staggering 63.4% from the floor last season, this was in a fairly simplified role. Head coach Monty Williams has already discussed using Ayton in a more expanded role heading into this season.

The three-point shot is an aspect you’d expect Ayton to incorporate more; perhaps something closer to one per game rather than every three games. His offensive aggression on the interior has also been a key talking point over the offseason.

This is also translates to the defensive end of the floor where he can better utilise his near seven-foot presence. Despite being a solid interior defender, Ayton recorded an incredibly low 0.7 blocks per game. He also recorded the least amount of defensive win shares of the Suns five starters last season.

Next. Phoenix Suns: Predicting player stats for 2022-23 – Mikal Bridges. dark

Overall, expect to see an advanced offensive role lead to higher numbers for Ayton, even if his efficiency drops slightly as a result. A big season’s in store should all parties moved past the current issues and simply get back to playing basketball.

Predicted statistical averages – 30.5 minutes, 19.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.3 blocks, 1.7 turnovers, 58.8% FG, 34.9% 3PT