Is it a step taken or just a shooting streak for Phoenix Suns star?

Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /
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Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Reasons to think Ayton has taken a step

If we look over the last 15 games, which essentially doubles his February total – and is all NBA stats allow – Ayton’s numbers are not all that different.

Over the last 15 games, Ayton is averaging 23.3 points per contest, and while his points have remained up, his shooting has not. Over those same 15 games, Ayton is shooting 62% from the field but still making ten baskets per game because he is getting more attempts. Further, during the last 15 games, Ayton has averaged 4.5 free throw attempts per game, up almost 1.5 per game over this season’s average of 3.1.

With his attempts and makes-up from both the field and the free throw line, it should not be surprising that Ayton’s scoring has jumped to go with it, given his efficiency level. This longer stretch and continued production show that Ayton’s February scoring jump is due to a commitment to getting attempts from the field and the line, not just improved shooting.

Some might think that Ayton’s attempts will go down with KD now in the fold. However, Phoenix lost 24.3 shots per game, with Mikal bridges and Cam Johnson leaving. Kevin Durant and his 18.8 attempts per game are not that much to absorb, and ultimately, Ayton should still get his looks, especially in favorable matchups.

Has Ayton turned the corner and taken the next step? Evidence shows he may have; the next few months will tell us if this is just another false dawn or if Ayton has become the center the Suns need.

Next. The question every Suns fan is asking. dark