Suns’ Monty Williams stands by Deandre Ayton’s usage in Game 7

May 17, 2022, 10:00 AM | Updated: 11:19 am

Head coach Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns talks with Deandre Ayton #22 in the second half of ga...

Head coach Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns talks with Deandre Ayton #22 in the second half of game two of the NBA Finals at Phoenix Suns Arena on July 08, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Bucks 118-108. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns’ 2021-22 season came to a crashing end with a 123-90 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 7 at home.

Suns center Deandre Ayton played just 17 minutes in the 33-point loss and appeared to argue with head coach Monty Williams early in the third quarter.

Immediately after the loss Williams was asked about the center’s usage, but before the reporter could finish his question he received a quick answer from the 2021-22 NBA Coach of the Year.

“It’s internal,” Williams abruptly told reporters on Sunday.

Ayton finished Sunday’s game with five points, four rebounds and two assists.

Williams was asked during his exit interview with the media on Monday if he and the Suns’ 2018 No. 1 overall pick had a chance to speak following the loss.

“We didn’t,” Williams told reporters on Monday. “You know me, I am going to do everything I can to help us win games. At that point with the lead where it was, I made a decision to not put him back in the game. I’ll keep all the internal stuff internal, but it was just a decision I made. It also got to the point where I didn’t feel like Chris (Paul) and (Devin Booker) were going to help us at that particular point.”

“We haven’t talked, I talked to the team today but I have not talked to D.A.”

Ayton is due for a new contract this offseason but is a restricted free agent, meaning that Phoenix can match any offer sheet that is made to the big man.

He finished the season averaging 17.2 points, 10.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game on a career high 63.4% shooting.


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