The Phoenix Suns took on the Philadelphia 76ers Wednesday in what appeared to be another slow start for the Suns (72-49 at halftime). The marquee matchup was surely seeing Rookie center Deandre Ayton go up against the entertaining Joel Embiid. Unfortunately, Ayton (18pts/11reb) had no answer for Joel Embiid (42pts/18reb) who was a force to be reckoned with.
“I Play Defense”
Embiid’s success should come as no surprise to Suns fans. The alpha dog center in the NBA made it known that he is the true center tweeting out “Don’t compare Ayton to me either… I play DEFENSE.” Until Ayton has a monster performance against Embiid on both ends of the floor he will always be the little brother to Embiid.
Defense in the Paint
The Suns attempted to make a monumental comeback late in the game but it was too little too late. Had the Suns received more firepower from their supporting cast, a victory could have been attained. Most notably missing from the stat sheet was TJ Warren. Warren had only 7 points on 20 minutes of play with 5 fouls in the game. Some of those fouls had to come from stopping Embiid and Simmons getting to the basket. (Embiid 17/19 FT, Simmons 15/23 FT) Once Deandre Ayton is able to be a force in the paint, the defense will not need to help as much down low. This will allow for fewer fouls and more closeouts on the perimeter.
This year for Devin Booker has been one of consistency at an even higher level. With 37 points last night, Booker has risen his points per game to 25.5 this year (24.9 in ’17-’18, 22.1 in ’16-’17, 13.8 in ’15-’16). The impressive part is that Booker is doing this on relatively the same amount of shot attempts taken last year. This type of growth from the young star is encouraging not just for his future, but the future of Deandre Ayton as well.
Overall, I was pleased