Following the Suns’ bounce-back win against the Nuggets on Friday, backup C Jock Landale had some words to say about the recent criticism Deandre Ayton has received.
Landale went on an over 2-minute rant, defending Ayton and discussing how great of a teammate he is.
Jock Landale gave a passionate answer to what makes Deandre Ayton a great locker room guy, teammate, and players for everybody that continues to hate on him.#WeAreTheValley#NBA#NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/WZYNnkxcfd
— Burn City Sports (@BurnCitySports) May 6, 2023
On Friday, Landale played in 22 minutes, which was more minutes than he has played in the previous seven playoff games combined.
During those 22 minutes, Landale exceeded all expectations and did not shy away from sacrificing his body to grab some boards. Landale’s physicality led him to receive some high praise after the game. The 27-year-old made all three shot attempts, grabbed nine rebounds, and finished with a +10.
On the other hand, Deandre Ayton, who averaged over 33 minutes per game in the playoffs, saw just 25 minutes of action in Game 3. During this time on the court, Ayton finished with a career playoff low of four points on six attempts and had a +/- of -4.
The lack of physicality has been a major concern for many when it comes to Ayton. However, the playoffs have now put the spotlight on what fans have been raging about all season.
This sequence late in the fourth quarter illustrates the Friday night effort perfectly.
Monty Williams benched Deandre Ayton after he failed to finish a layup over Jamal Murray. pic.twitter.com/233OXbl7XF
— Khiz (@KhizHoop) May 6, 2023
Ayton also seemed emotionally upset as a video quickly surfaced of him ignoring Chris Paul while complaining to a coach.
Watch DeAndre Ayton ignore Chris Paul twice in this clip
The Phoenix Suns get the W, but the vibes here are horrendous pic.twitter.com/UCzfQfTtEt
— Eric Rosenthal (@ericsports) May 6, 2023
While some have called for Jock Landale to get the start in Game 4, it is highly doubtful that Monty Williams will pull the trigger. Ayton has been a centerpiece for the Suns since they drafted him #1 overall in the 2018 draft. Now, it is time for Monty Williams to get back the Ayton that fans have grown accustomed to over the past five years.