The Phoenix Suns have bid farewell to one of their standout players, Deandre Ayton. Ayton was a big name in Phoenix and there is no denying his impact on the team. Alongside Devin Booker, Ayton was one of the last remnants of the Suns' 2021 NBA Finals squad. However, now it is solely Booker carrying the torch.
Booker and CP3 undoubtedly played pivotal roles in the team's success, but let us not forget Ayton's contributions. He was a defensive leader and an exceptional rebounder. Ayton's legacy as a Suns player will never fade away.
With that being said, Ayton now embarks on an exciting opportunity in Portland. He has the chance to take center stage for a team, even if they may not be a winning one in return. Nevertheless, his stats are expected to flourish, and his game may even surpass his performances in Phoenix.
In fact, The Athletic predicts that Ayton will experience a breakout season in 2023-24. Here's a snippet of what they anticipate for the former No. 1 overall pick:
"It might seem odd singling out a guy who averaged 18 points and ten rebounds last season, but Ayton figures to have a much larger offensive role with Portland than he did last season in Phoenix. Ayton attempted the third most shots on the Suns last season (13.2 a game), which ranked behind Devin Booker (20.1) and Kevin Durant (16), but he figures to see an uptick in touches with Portland as he becomes one of the focal points of the offense. It’s a safe bet that Ayton will post career highs in scoring and shots this season as one of the more veteran and accomplished players on Portland’s young roster." Said Jason Quick with The Athletic.
Ayton now has the platform to showcase the postgame skills he has always desired to exhibit in Phoenix. Furthermore, he firmly believes in his ability to dominate and establish himself as one of the premier centers in the league. Now that he is no longer overshadowed by the likes of Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, or even Bradley Beal, we eagerly await to witness if Ayton can live up to his aspirations.