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Can DeAndre Ayton be DeAndre Jordan?

Phoenix, Arizona (Burn City Sports)

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Can Deandre Ayton be DeAndre Jordan? The question may be confusing at first. Why would Deandre Ayton want to become DeAndre Jordan? Ayton was the number one overall pick in the draft while Jordan was picked in the second round. The former first overall pick has been a starter since day one while Jordan didn’t earn the starting job until his third season. Ayton averaged 18 points a game last season while Jordan’s best scoring season was 12.7 points per game.

There are several reasons why Deandre Ayton wouldn’t want to be like DeAndre Jordan. There are also several reason why Ayton should want to be like Jordan. Jordan was selected to three All-NBA teams and one all-star team during his time with the Los Angeles Clippers. Ayton has not been selected to an All-NBA or all-star team yet.

During his best years, the 2013-14 season to the 2016-17 season, Jordan averaged 11.8 points, 14 rebounds, and 2.17 blocks per game. The Clippers were also top fifteen in defensive rating each of those years, including two top ten finishes. Jordan provided much needed rim protection and rebounding that helped the Clippers become title contenders during that time.

How would this help the Suns?

Last season, the Suns were 17th in points given up per game with 113.6 points. If Ayton is able to be more like Jordan, the defense will be much improved. The Suns were not a good rebounding team last season, finishing the year ranked 19th in total defensive rebounds. Ayton averaged 10 rebounds a game which is good but not good enough. Jordan was dominating the boards, which reduced the amount of second chance points opponents scored on the Clippers during that time.

Jordan also averaged over two blocks per game. When a player is blocking two shots a game, that means they are affecting so many more shots at the rim throughout the game. Ayton averaged less than one block per game last season. Players were more fearful of Kevin Durant as the last line of defense than they were of Ayton. If Ayton, concentrates on the defensive end of the floor to the extent Jordan did, the Suns will be a top ten defense.

Can it be done?

This is a very tough thing to ask Deandre Ayton to do. He is much more skilled now than DeAndre Jordan ever was. The Suns would be asking him to sacrifice his offense to become a great defender and rebounder. On offense Ayton would never have a play called for him. He would score by setting good picks and rolling hard to the basket. Knowing when to cut from the dunker spot to get an easy score from a Durant, Bradley Beal, or Devin Booker drop off pass. He could also get buckets by getting offensive rebounds. Jordan averaged over four offensive rebounds per game during his prime years.

Ayton is not the same caliber of athlete that Jordan was. Jordan’s leaping ability definitely helped when it came to his abundance of block shots and rebounds. Ayton would have to make up for that lack of explosiveness with timing, position, and determination.

This would not be an easy transition but if Ayton is able to do it. The Suns will win the NBA championship.

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