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The Phoenix Suns need Deandre Ayton to be very good. Phoenix is one of the worst teams in the NBA, and Ayton is their sole first overall pick. There’s pressure there, and expectations, and for good reason: Ayton’s broad shoulders have the potential and talent to deliver in a big way.
For that to happen. he’s going to need to take some lumps in the league early in his career. Part of being a young star is getting the chance to mess up early on. Considering these Suns have endured a 17-game losing streak earlier this season, it should be obvious for Ayton to get plenty of looks offensively. After all, it’s not like there are playoff aspirations for the Suns to risk by playing such a young player.
Despite being the most consistent member of the Suns in terms of games played, Ayton is just fifth on the team in shots attempted per 36 minutes and usage percentage. One of the names ahead of him makes a lot of sense: Devin Booker, another young star in Phoenix.
The other three make … less sense. Josh Jackson, Kelly Oubre, and T.J. Warren all see more touches than Ayton does on the Suns. To Phoenix’s credit, at least all four of those players are young guys. Warren is the oldest at 25.
Okay, that’s enough credit. Outside of Booker, that group doesn’t have anything close to the potential that Ayton does. He’s still raw and young, but Ayton has played well against NBA competition pretty consistently early in his career. He needs more opportunities to do so.
Funneling more offense through Ayton might make Phoenix better in the short term, and it will certainly make the Suns better in the long term. Phoenix rolled the dice on Ayton over prospects like Luka Doncic and Trae Young. The Suns need to let him play and grow if they want that bet to pan out.
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