Phoenix Suns center DeAndre Ayton is entering his third season in the NBA. The former Arizona Wildcat in 38 games last season averaged 18.2 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game, after serving a 25 game suspension for violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program by testing positive for a diuretic, according to David Brandt of The Associated Press.
Meanwhile, for his career, Ayton is averaging 17.0 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 1.8 assists during the 109 games played thus far. He was also a member of the 2018-19 All-Rookie Team along with players such as Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic, and Atlanta Hawks Trae Young, who were unanimous selections.
Ayton has shown some promise during his first two seasons could be trending towards being one of the league’s rising stars. Phoenix Suns head coach, Monty Williams coached Anthony Davis early on in his career and now has Ayton in Phoenix.
Ryan Hollins believes that Ayton can develop under Williams, like Davis did during their time in New Orleans.
“Keep in mind Monty [Williams] had Anthony Davis before he was Anthony Davis. Monty was very instrumental in saying, “Hey AD, I want you to face up, I wanted you to be great at the pick and pop, said Hollins.
“I’m not saying Ayton is Anthony Davis, he is a different type of player, I’m not going to say he can’t be on that tier.”
Last March Heavy’s Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson spoke with Hall of Famer Ray Allen, and during their conversation they discussed the evolution of today’s big man. Allen sees Ayton as a hybrid at his position.
“It’s crazy, because there’s so many great shooters,” said Allen.
“I will say that as I left, shooting did drop, it seemed like it fell off a little bit. It was like, 3 or 4 good shooters in the league, but now you see there’s a huge growth where a lot of teams have multiples and we’re talking about the BIG teams. You can’t shoot on this team if you can’t shoot threes. So what’s interesting is that now there’s a gap in the middle and what’s gonna happen is, one of these kids in high school who’s gonna get really big and have really smooth moves is gonna be making baskets and making baskets that’s gonna dominate the game and flip it back over, he’ll dominate it for years. And then the game is going to have to adjust.”
Last season, Ayton was also compared to Lakers legend and former Suns center, Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq addressed the comparison and stated Ayton should be the first him.
“I keep hearing that this Ayton guy can be the next Shaq,” O’Neal said in a past interview.
“My advice to Ayton is don’t be the next Shaq, be the first Ayton. I wish you well. I hope you break all my records.”