Frank Vogel: Suns will involve Deandre Ayton more on offense

Jul 14, 2023, 12:03 PM

Deandre Ayton...

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson pressures Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022, in Phoenix. Phoenix won 134-105. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Frank Vogel operates like any head coach: He will manage the players currently on his roster.

Friday marks a year’s time since the Phoenix Suns matched Deandre Ayton’s max contract offer he signed to join the Indiana Pacers, and that date means Ayton’s veto power on trades ends this weekend. Just maybe it’ll quell the trade speculation that’s also gone on for more than a year.

As it stands, Vogel very much has Ayton in his plans.

“I’m off to a great start with him from a relationship standpoint in terms of understanding that if we want him to defend and rebound at an All-Star level, then we’re going to have to involve him a little more in the offense. That’s just basketball 101, you learn that as a youngster,” Vogel said when he joined Sirius XM NBA Radio this week at the NBA Summer League.

“You got to give those big guys the ball sometimes. When they get it, then they’ll run through the wall for you on the other end. I think we’re off to a great start with that. He’s going to be a big part of what we do.”

Of course, the Suns’ aggressive front office and new owner operate in a different realm than Vogel, one where projecting improvement via roster changes is the focus.

We saw the contrast when Vogel — quite genuinely — spoke at his introductory press conference about the excitement of preparing to coach a team with point guard Chris Paul on it. Paul was traded for Bradley Beal soon after.

“I was thrilled to get Bradley Beal but I was also sad to not have the opportunity to coach Chris Paul because I think he’s one of the greatest ever to do it,” Vogel said.

“Had just recently before the trade had breakfast together and there was an excitement level of what that was going to look like. But Bradley Beal is one of the best players in the league, quite frankly, and he’s in his prime and fits a window of our team — a three-to-five-year window — that’s going to make us one of the teams that’s going to be a favorite to win a championship every year.”

Beal, Kevin Durant and Devin Booker obviously become the building blocks to the Suns’ success in 2023-24 and beyond.

But as this current roster stands, Ayton remains the X-factor, the player who could swing the offensive-forward roster into being a two-way contender.

That will be Vogel’s greatest challenge: Leaning on Ayton to do more on defense by showing more capability of switching seamlessly between coverages more often, all while managing his desire to grow as an offensive force on a squad that can’t manufacture touches more than traditional rim-rolling situations.

“I think we do,” Vogel said. “We’re definitely more offensively talented than defensively talented on this team, there’s no doubt about that. But if the big fella plays this year the way I think he can play and really anchors our defense, I think we can have guys really scrambling around the perimeter, flying around and competing on the basketball knowing that they got that giant behind them ready to block shots, rebound and get us out on the break.”


Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Phoenix Suns

Tyler Kolek...

Arizona Sports

NBA Draft prospect, potential Suns target Tyler Kolek visits the Valley

Tyler Kolek, a guard from Marquette and potential first-rounder, has been linked to the Suns and added more fuel to the fire on Tuesday.

3 hours ago

Bronny James of the USC Trojans...

Kevin Zimmerman

Bronny James rumors further attach to the Suns a week from the NBA Draft

Bronny James will reportedly work out for the Suns again. But there's a lot more noise around him and Phoenix's NBA team.

5 hours ago

Bronny James...

Arizona Sports

Report: Suns to host 2nd workout with NBA Draft prospect Bronny James

The Phoenix Suns will host a second pre-draft workout with USC prospect Bronny James this week, ESPN analyst Jonathan Givony reported. 

6 hours ago

Tyler Kolek #11 of the Marquette Golden Eagles shoots a free throw in the first half of the game ag...

Kellan Olson

22 for 22: Is Tyler Kolek the right PG for Suns in 2024 NBA Draft?

The overarching storyline of the Phoenix Suns' offseason is they need a point guard. But is Tyler Kolek the right fit?

10 hours ago

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder is defended by P.J. Washington #25 of the D...

Kellan Olson

One big offseason question for each Suns competitor in the Western Conference

The Phoenix Suns' fellow contenders in the Western Conference all have offseason options. Here's a preview as we look to 2024-25.

15 hours ago

Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum celebrates after scoring during the first half of Game 5 of the NBA ba...

Associated Press

Celtics win 18th NBA championship with Game 5 victory over Mavericks

Jayson Tatum had 31 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds as the Celtics topped the Mavericks to break tie with Lakers for most titles.

1 day ago

Frank Vogel: Suns will involve Deandre Ayton more on offense