Expectations have been very high for Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton, after signing a max contract during what seems to be a very tumultuous offseason.
To this point Ayton has had a very pedestrian-like start to the regular season, doing just enough to help the team climb atop of the Western Conference standings much like they were a year ago.
One would begin to think that the supposed star Center has gone complacent with his off-season bag, as his numbers have dipped very low from a year ago.
Much criticism of Deandre from media and fans alike about his lack of aggression and lack of attention to detail on the court.
TNT commentator Reggie Miller said of Ayton during a broadcast “Deandre Ayton has to be more aggressive and attack the basket” the Hall of Fame Miller was very frustrated with Ayton’s performance as a big man.
Deandre had two twenty-plus points scoring outputs this season and both came against the Portland Trailblazers those were his only big games all season leading up to the last two nights after a Thanksgiving holiday.
The Utah Jazz came to Footprint center to play the Suns for the second time in as many as a five-game stretch, the last one was in Salt Lake City and ended with a Jazz 134-133 one-point victory.
So what would happen in the second meeting for these two teams? Well, another one-point margin of victory but the Suns would be the victors after this night was done.
The reason for the 113-112 victory was the stellar play of Deandre Ayton after the Holiday, he has scored a total of 57 points and 33 rebounds, to go along with four blocks and one key steal in the Utah game to help salt that victory away.
The Suns destroyed the Jazz in the paint 62 to 44 and that was the most from the brilliant work of Deandre Ayton, scoring a season-high 29 points and 21 rebounds numbers matching the last Suns star to do that Amare Stoudemire.
Ayton was the most aggressive he has ever been all season long and played with an intense edge about him and he did not shy away from any contact whatsoever.
The Center played through a slight knee injury after bumping knees with Lauri Markkennan, and seemed to get stronger after giving coach Monty the nod that he was okay.
These last two performances look more like a guy that earned a max contract, and if this is any indication of the Ayton the Suns team will have going forward, they will be a very difficult team to beat as they already are the leaders of the West.
Throughout the years of the big man’s career, he has been labeled soft as a big man because he won’t dunk the basketball more when he is under the rim and had a tendency to shy away from contact going to the fade away.
After the game, Ayton was compared to Stoudemire, and Deandre said “Amare was a beast and he dunked the basketball more than me, but I’m trying to dunk the ball more” that comment was a very refreshing statement tear that would like to see him actually become the beast his body form looks like.
Again, if this is any indication that this is the new Deandre Ayton, then watch this Suns team sore into the NBA Finals much like those Lakers teams led by Shaquille O’Neal.
Ayton said of he and Booker on the Draft night in 2018 that they are “Shaq and Kobe 2.0” and it’s not exactly like those two Hall of Fame guys as of yet, but if he keeps up this aggressive attitude on a nightly basis he can finally start to be mentioned in the names of today’s dominant centers, Jokic, Embed, and Davis.