Deandre Ayton had a ‘vision’ Ricky Rubio would return to Suns in Orlando

Jul 23, 2020, 9:57 AM

Ricky Rubio #11 of the Phoenix Suns high fives Deandre Ayton #22 after scoring against the Houston ...

Ricky Rubio #11 of the Phoenix Suns high fives Deandre Ayton #22 after scoring against the Houston Rockets during the second half of the NBA game at Talking Stick Resort Arena on February 07, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

On top of being a double-double machine, Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton can also see the future.

After a shootaround for the team’s return to action with a Thursday scrimmage against the Utah Jazz, Ayton said he had a dream about his point guard Ricky Rubio, who was late to arrive in Orlando because of the coronavirus.

“It’s so funny. The morning before Ricky got there (and) I saw him in the training room, I actually had a dream like, ‘Yo, where is this dude at?’ And the next morning, I’m in the training room, I see Ricky getting ready for practice taping I’m like, ‘What the heck? Bro, you have no idea. I just used my vision that you’re going to be here,'” Ayton said.

Rubio’s first practice with the team was on Tuesday, which certainly had to be a delight for the young big man.

“He made practice very easy,” Ayton said. “Just knowing our personnel, getting us in the right spots when we be playing our 5-on-0 or scrimmaging a little bit against each other — just giving us different looks on offense that we don’t see normally. Just teaching us the game.”

Ayton and Rubio’s chemistry together as a pick-and-roll duo started to flourish after the All-Star break, when the two had a conversation on the way to their first game back.

“All that started on the plane. I told him we could be the best offensive pick-and-roll duo in the league,” Ayton said on Feb. 26.

“He just sat me down with some film, he and (assistant) coach Darko (Rajakovic). Just reading how people guard Ricky, setting the screens and really getting out of the screen and trusting him that he’s gonna throw the ball up for me and just make the right play, to be honest.”

In the next three games, Rubio had 15 of his 32 assists go the way of Ayton, including seven of 10 in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Rubio was operating like he had a much better understanding of where to find Ayton, which might have also been about Rubio and Rajakovic telling him where to go, too.

Since Ayton is rolling hard here, Rubio knows he can delay until a passing lane to the big fella opens up.

And if someone as large and athletic as Ayton with awesome hands is around the rim enough, a passer like Rubio will find him.

The two didn’t get to explore this much further, as Ayton only played three more games before suffering a bone bruise in his ankle that forced him to sit out the rest of the team’s games before the season was paused in mid-March.

Finding that groove with his floor general is something Ayton can look forward to in the Suns’ three scrimmages, which he said aren’t about conditioning like they could be for other teams.

“This has been the hardest training camp of my career, I’m not even going to lie to you,” Ayton said. “Coach really stepped it up conditioning-wise and mentally as well.”

Empire of the Suns

Royce O'Neale of the Phoenix Suns...

Kevin Zimmerman

ESPN’s Marks: Royce O’Neale’s contract details show bargain for Suns

If we're to shrug at how Mat Ishbia cares to spend his money, Royce O'Neale's four-year, $42 million contract is a bargain.

2 days ago

Amen Thompson #29 of the 2024 USA Basketball Men's Select Team guards Devin Booker #15 of the 2024 ...

Kellan Olson

Devin Booker continues to look the part for Team USA vs. Canada

Devin Booker continued to prove why he will be a valuable asset in the Paris Olympics for Team USA in an exhibition win against Canada.

3 days ago

Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns during a 124-108 win over the LA Clippers at Crypto.com Arena ...

Kellan Olson

Kevin Durant clears up his reported frustration in Phoenix Suns offense

Kevin Durant provided some clarification on reports regarding his frustration with the Suns' offense and standing in the corner.

4 days ago

Kevin Durant and Anthony Edwards...

Kellan Olson

Anthony Edwards has ‘butterflies’ to be Kevin Durant’s Olympic teammate

Anthony Edwards has been Kevin Durant's favorite player for a long time, and after the two battled in the postseason, they are now teammates.

5 days ago

Devin Booker #15 of Team United States poses with his gold medal during the Men's Basketball medal ...

Kellan Olson

Devin Booker back for Olympic gold after thriving as ‘perfect FIBA guy’ in Tokyo

Devin Booker didn't struggle at all with a large role change for Team USA in the 2021 Olympics and he should thrive again this summer.

5 days ago

Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns dribbles the ball while being guarded by Tyrese Haliburton #0 o...

Kellan Olson

Tyrese Haliburton was open to Suns drafting him, had zero pre-draft communication

Tyrese Haliburton told Arizona Sports he was open to being selected by the Suns in 2020 despite reports he forced his way to the Kings.

6 days ago

Deandre Ayton had a ‘vision’ Ricky Rubio would return to Suns in Orlando