Deandre Ayton closer to shooting 3s, Suns not holding him back

Jul 19, 2020, 9:18 AM
Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) shoots with New York Knicks forward Marcus Morris Sr. (13) a...
Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) shoots with New York Knicks forward Marcus Morris Sr. (13) and Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) looking on during the second half of an NBA basketball game in New York, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020. The Suns defeated the Knicks 121-98. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

The wait for Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton to attempt three-pointers in the NBA has been a little longer than some expected.

At Arizona, Ayton had a reliable mid-range jumper and shot 12-of-35 from deep on the college three-point line.

Now near the end of his NBA second season, he hasn’t added the deep ball to his repertoire yet.

That’s despite Ayton beginning to practice shooting them consistently in pregame and post-practice shooting drills starting at the second half of his rookie season, and continuing to do so even further this year.

Through that has come noticeable changes and tweaks to make the shot more consistent from a deeper range before it’s implemented.

Ayton is not shy about boasting his three-point shot, which led fans to believe the team was the one holding him back from shooting them. Both general manager James Jones and head coach Monty Williams, though, have shut down that sentiment this season, one Williams reiterated Sunday.

Williams was asked about Ayton’s offensive role and the potential for him to expand to that shot, especially with how it spaces the floor for the offense as a whole when Aron Baynes (4.0 3PAs per game) and Frank Kaminsky (3.5 3PAs per game) play the five.

“I think he’ll be in his unique role with some 3s being thrown in there every so often,” Williams said of Ayton.

“The one thing that DA does for us that no one else can do at that level is put pressure on the rim. That frees up so many guys, so I don’t want to take that away, but he has worked on his three-point range. He’s getting more arc on his shot. He’s been really diligent about getting lift with his legs and getting it up in the air.

“I’ve always told guys if you work on something with intention, you should do it in the game, so I want him to have confidence to do that. We’ve never held him back from shooting out there because we feel like he can and will be able to do that but we don’t want him to ever forget about his ability to dominate the box.”

When comparing the above video to this one below from Orlando, you can see the arc Williams is talking about, which leads to a more pleasing ball trajectory than the line drive.

And as Williams also brought up, it’s going to be a fascinating tug-and-pull of how much Ayton can stick to dominating the paint while sprinkling in his range once he chooses to do so.

Penguin Air

Empire of the Suns

Jae Crowder #99, Chris Paul #3, Mikal Bridges #25 and Cameron Payne #15 of the Phoenix Suns react d...
Kellan Olson

Initial impressions, observations from Phoenix Suns’ 2022-23 schedule

A few areas of the Phoenix Suns' 82-game schedule we can spotlight to keep an eye on throughout the regular season.
2 days ago
Ish Wainright #12 of the Phoenix Suns during the second half of Game Five of the Western Conference...
Kellan Olson

Ish Wainright returns to Phoenix Suns on 2-way contract, per report

The Phoenix Suns have agreed to a two-way contract with forward Ish Wainright, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.
16 days ago
(Twitter photo/@KellanOlson)...
Kellan Olson

Cam Johnson’s connection to Valley strengthens with 3-on-3 tournament

The Phoenix Suns' Cam Johnson can confidently call the Valley his second home and keeps finding ways to connect to the community.
20 days ago
Cameron Johnson #23 of the Phoenix Suns reacts after hitting a three-point shot against the New Orl...
Kellan Olson

Suns’ Cam Johnson hears trade rumors, focused on offseason growth

Phoenix Suns wing Cam Johnson hears the noise of trade rumors this summer and understands the business side of the NBA.
20 days ago
Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on during the second half of the Eastern Conference 2022...
Kellan Olson

Will Phoenix Suns abandon team-building principles to land Kevin Durant?

The Phoenix Suns must decide how badly they want Kevin Durant and how long they are willing to wait to make it happen.
22 days ago
Tyson Carter #11 of the Phoenix Suns is fouled as he drives to the basket by Craig Sword #32 of the...
Kellan Olson

Summer Suns wrap up play in Las Vegas with win over Pacers

Phoenix Suns basketball came to a close this summer with an 84-69 win in Summer League play over the Indiana Pacers.
1 month ago
Deandre Ayton closer to shooting 3s, Suns not holding him back