PHOENIX SUNS

Former Suns big man Deandre Ayton vows to change narrative with Trail Blazers

Oct 3, 2023, 8:09 AM | Updated: 8:12 am

(Evan Sidery X screenshot)

(Evan Sidery X screenshot)

The Phoenix Suns ended the Deandre Ayton saga by sending him off to the Portland Trail Blazers for Jusuf Nurkic and a slew of depth.

The Suns had questions about his defensive motor, his ability to stay engaged as well as how good of a teammate he was, but at Trail Blazers media day on Monday, Ayton vowed to change the narrative.

“I told the guys this summer that I’ll be changing the narrative,” Ayton said.

“I’m in an organization that wants me and wants me to succeed. It’s a lot more passion when you feel that mentally and you’re seeing that physically as well. It’ll be a lot more grit and a lot more DominAyton this year.”

When the Suns were eliminated by the Denver Nuggets in last season’s playoffs, there were viral clips of Ayton falling out of the game mentally, which the team and organization grew tired of.

That being said, Ayton was no pushover with the Suns. The former No. 1 overall pick averaged 18.0 points per game on 58.9% shooting and 10.0 rebounds in 2023.

In his last two years in Phoenix, Ayton saw his blocks reach career lows in blocks per game with 0.7 and 0.8, respectively. Additionally, his field goal percentage dropped from 64.2% in 2021-22 to 58.9% in 2022-23 on 1.2 more shots per game.

While the big man will most likely get more opportunity in Portland in terms of offensive production, fans will have to wait to see if DominAyton is conducive to winning for a young team.

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