Deandre Ayton, who was once ridiculed and belittled, made a major contribution to the Suns in the NBA Finals debut.

On the day he became the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, Deandre Ayton was slightly taller than 7-0 and weighed 261 pounds, measuring 84 inches from the tip of his outstretched right hand to the tip of his left hand, jumping vertically The test is 44 inches. He averaged 20.1 points and 11.6 rebounds per game for a team that won the Pac-12 regular season and championship championships, and was named the nation’s first team.

If that day comes in 1998 or 2008 instead of 2018, the general manager will offer their least favorite child to the Suns in exchange for Ayton’s draft pick. He will be seen as the next in the franchise foundation big man series, from George Mikan to Bill Russell to Wilt Chamberlain to Karim Abdul-Jabbar to Shaquille O’Neal and Tim Duncan’s successor.

On the contrary, in the modern era of basketball analysis, he has Internet drafting experts Make a fuss about his “block rate”. When Ayton’s rookie season was less than halfway, he was only 20 years old, a writer from the blog “Sun Valley” declared, “Deandre Ayton is not a suitable candidate for the Phoenix Suns First is the overall” because modern games are oriented towards shooting and possession. Ayton averaged 15.5 points and 10 rebounds per game.

Now that he has played 17 games in the NBA playoffs for the first time-and took 3 wins from the championship-Ayton’s talent is causing people to reassess the value of the 7-footer. , Especially one who can be like Ayton. If there are others.

“He just locked in this role,” Suns head coach Monty Williams said after his 118-105 victory over the Bucks in the first game of the 2021 NBA Finals. “Sometimes when you tell players that they have their own role, they tend to think that you are limiting their abilities. I don’t think DA thinks that way. I think he understands his role and how he affects the victory on both sides of the ball.”

Ayton announced his entry into the Finals with 22 points and 19 rebounds. He shot 8 of 10 from the field and 6 of 6 from the free throw line. He grabbed 17 defensive rebounds-more than one-third of all the Bucks missed-and committed only 3 fouls. He did not record a block. This doesn’t seem to matter to the Bucks. Their two-point shooting percentage is only 46.2%.

For those of you who have watched Ayton throughout the Suns 51-21 season, especially the playoff series where they created a 13-4 record, everything that happened to him in his first Finals game Not a surprise.

“Chris (Paul) whispered to me when he went out,’We’ve been on his ass.’ That’s why Chris can say that this is the person he is most proud of, and I feel the same way,” the superstar Defender Devin Booker said. “Sometimes you walk on the court and Chris will wait there. “Did you fuck Chris? Okay, now let me tell him something. We are all in his ears, we are all in him, let him keep all this information and perform at the level he has been performing, which is difficult to express in words.

“He has gone through his stages in his NBA career, but since the start of these playoffs, you have seen his maturity and his growth enter a whole new level. He has been getting better. And he has learned. The will-now, he may not come to me, but will come to me, “What should I do when this happens? “

“There are more things in his tank, and he will show it soon.”

Ayton’s scoring average dropped this season and he ranks third in the league because the arrival of superstar point guard Chris Paul means Ayton has less offensive responsibility. Ayton averaged 5 shots per game, but his accuracy soared from 54.6% to 62.6%.

With the increasing impact of the playoffs, his stats look like something from a Marvel movie: 16.5 points per game, 12.2 rebounds per game, 71.1% field goal percentage.

“Allowing Chris and Booker to create opportunities for him certainly helps, but he has done a great job in understanding the angles and screens and the placement of the basket at the basket,” Williams said. “And he is just one of them there. Sometimes they have to let two people run towards him and keep him away from the rebounds, which allows our wing to pick up some offensive rebounds.”

Since the first NBA draft draw in 1985 sent Georgetown’s Patrick Ewing to the Knicks, seeing those ping-pong balls popping up normally has been an obsession of fans seeking relief from the depths of the league. But if Ayton can help the Suns complete this championship, he will only be the third pick in the lottery era to win the championship with his team in the first five seasons. The other two both have another No. 1 pick on the roster: Tim Duncan of the Spurs has David Robinson, and Kyrie Irving of the Cavaliers has LeBron James.

Therefore, players who were considered too big for the game proved to be ideal candidates for the Suns.

“I’m very happy that he played well. I’m very happy that he impacted the game in different ways. It’s not just an offense. In some games, he affected the game on the defensive end and covered up many of the mistakes we made. Oftentimes. Young big men need longer time, but again I think playing with Chris, playing with Devin, DA and coach Mark Bryant really helped him.

“He is a talented player. He has the ability to rebound and complete the offense under the basket, and then there is a big man who can come forward and take free throws. We don’t take it for granted. He will be the first to tell you… …This is a game, and we still have a lot of work to do.”

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