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Zach Lowe: “Very clearly things went sideways for Deandre Ayton.”

Senior NBA writer for ESPN, Zach Lowe talked about Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton on the latest episode of his podcast, The Lowe Post. On this episode Lowe and one his guests Kevin Pelton were discussing their choices for the most interesting players going into this upcoming season.

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The last player they discussed was Deandre Ayton. Lowe said, “Oh, I did forget one guy, Deandre Ayton, thoughts?” Asking Pelton if he had any thoughts on Ayton. Pelton said,”Considered him (for one his choices for most interesting players), I’m so skeptical on the positive scenario. That’s why he is not that intriguing to me, I suppose.”Lowe followed up by saying,

“He is situationally intriguing to me because very clearly things went sideways for Deandre Ayton with not just Monty Williams (former Suns head coach), with lots of people within the Suns. As I said before the players on the floor did not hide their frustration with him.”

How does Ayton redeem himself?

Lowe would go on to say, “One of Frank Vogel’s (Suns new head coach) first jobs was salvaging / rebuilding the teams’ trust with Deandre Ayton and vise versa. And I think the Suns have zero path to winning the title if they don’t achieve that or flip Ayton into a legitimate starting center who can bring some different things to the table and hold their defense together.”

Lowe’s concerns are very valid when it comes to Deandre Ayton. The talent is there. Last season, Ayton averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds a game, while shooting 58% from the floor. The production took a dip in the playoffs as he only averaged 13.4 points per game.

Ayton has never been considered a defensive stopper. He has averaged less than one block per game in the last two seasons. Frank Vogel is a defensive minded head coach who has had success with big men who protect the rim. It would behoove Ayton to make an effort to be a better rim protector and dominant rebounder.

Phoenix has an abundance of offensive talent and need defensive minded players around that talent. If Ayton is able to average at least 12 rebounds a game and block two or more shots per game, his value within the Suns will skyrocket.

If Ayton can take on a smaller role offensively while taking on a bigger one defensively. The Suns will have a real shot at winning the championship.

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