The Suns and restricted free agent Deandre Ayton got here to an settlement on an extension the exhausting method final week, with Phoenix immediately matching Indiana’s 4-year, 133 million greenback provide to the previous #1 general choose.
Phoenix needed Deandre Ayton on a four-year extension all alongside, and regardless of how dysfunctional the trail was to reaching that purpose, they bought it achieved. It’s a win for the Phoenix Suns, who’re preventing to maintain a championship window cracked open whereas concurrently negotiating to land Kevin Durant to assist Devin Booker and Chris Paul.
In the long run, this might be a win for Deandre Ayton too, as he’ll be approaching free company once more at age 27, but it surely’s solely a win for Ayton if he locks in and makes huge strides over the course of his second contract.
Ayton hasn’t all the time gotten a good shake from NBA followers, who continually level out that he was chosen forward of Luka Doncic and Trae Younger, however he has been a superb participant on what has turn out to be a contending group.
Nonetheless, you don’t need to be one of many followers that has had Deandre Ayton beneath a microscope during the last 4 season to know that there are some huge holes in each his sport and his strategy that led to a contract standoff with the Suns somewhat than an automated provide for a 5-year max rookie deal.
Whereas Ayton has the physique and skillset of a dominant 90’s heart (in a sport that has largely developed previous the necessity for one), Ayton struggles to carry onto the basketball in site visitors, and his lack of physicality is sufficient to drive each younger followers and NBA oldheads insane. Over his 4 yr profession, Ayton has solely 47 extra made free throws than he does turnovers. Whereas Ayton is a strong shot-alterer, he’s averaged lower than one blocked shot per sport during the last two common seasons mixed.
Maybe probably the most irritating facet of Ayton’s sport is within the space of consistency, each in-game and over the course of a full season. There are only a few gamers that put up extra first quarter factors per sport on the heart place, with Ayton rating 4th final yr at 5.9, behind MVP Nikola Jokic (7.8), all-star Karl Anthony-Cities (8.4), and Philadelphia franchise participant Joel Embiid (8.5). Ayton’s manufacturing falls precipitously as soon as the fourth quarter hits, rating 19th amongst facilities with 3.1 factors per sport, one spot behind his personal 2021-2022 backup JaVale McGee. As well as, whereas Ayton has averaged a double-double for 4 consecutive seasons, he truly has extra video games performed and not using a double-double during the last two seasons (54) than he does video games with a double-double (53).
Mix that with his PED suspension, his admission that he stays up most nights enjoying video video games, his public declaration that he “doesn’t like the large man position,” and his reported feud with Suns coach Monty Williams that spilled over onto the courtroom in a sport 7 western convention finals blowout loss, and you’ve got some critical questions on whether or not Deandre Ayton will ever meet his potential.
We all know what a dominant heart’s angle and management is meant to appear like. We noticed it in Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson and extra (None of whom, by the best way, had their greatest FG% season come wherever near Ayton’s profession common of 60%). Ayton has pure abilities that might put him that very same dialog some day, however Ayton has been quoted as saying his NBA purpose was to attain his second contract, and it’s not unreasonable to assume that if this cash robs him of any motivation to enhance, he might be in the identical dialog as an Andrew Bynum or Jahlil Okafor as a substitute.
At this level, it’s as much as him.