3 reasons the Phoenix Suns are right to keep Deandre Ayton.
2. He is still a top 10 center in the NBA.
Suns fans might not want to hear this, but there is no question that Ayton is a top 10 center in the league today. If the shoe was on the other foot and they somehow had the chance to go out and get a big in that category to put next to Booker, Beal and Durant, the front office would do that every time.
So because Ayton is on the team already, why is it different? This comes down to the fact Ayton has looked disengaged in the past, and he is only going to slide further down the pecking order offensively. As it is with most dominant big men, they like to feel appreciated and given the ball some before they show you their best on the defensive end.
Ayton can be elite defensively again, and he has the talent to be an All-Star in this league. He was the foundation upon which a run to the NBA Finals was built in the past, and if you are going to go through the Western Conference, you need a big who can wrestle successfully with Anthony Davis and Nikola Jokic.
Jokic got the better of Ayton this postseason en route to his first championship, but Ayton has been on teams that have knocked both Jokic and Davis out of the playoffs before. In those battles, he outplayed the other big for stretches of games. This was achieved without Durant and Beal, so imagine what Ayton can do if those two are firing on all cylinders?
Any trade involving Ayton would have likely seen Jock Landale and Bismarck Biyombo, assuming they are both brought back, as the two main bigs on the roster. The Suns would have gotten better elsewhere, but this would have represented a massive downgrade in one of their starting five positions. Both of these players are backups at best, and that is being generous to Biyombo.
Outside of Jokic, Davis and Joel Embiid (does Giannis Antetokounmpo count?), who in the entire league would the Suns rather have over Ayton? Bam Adebayo is about the only one, with Rudy Gobert, Jarrett Allen and Kristaps Porzingis all troubling for different reasons. Ayton can be the guy here, he just needs the support of the franchise to do so, and to not feel like an afterthought.