An uneven debut for No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton on Friday night at the NBA summer league in Las Vegas was highlighted by a handful of athletic plays that illustrated why he was the first choice in a talented draft.
Donning a Phoenix Suns uniform for the first time, Ayton finished with 10 points and eight rebounds in 22 minutes. His ability to play above the rim was the biggest strength of his performance. Ayton went up high in the first quarter to score his first basket on an alley-oop finish from teammate Shaquille Harrison, then in the third quarter exploded out of a pack of players to tip home an offensive rebound with maximum elevation.cheap new nike nfl jerseys
With new Phoenix coach Igor Kokoskov also making his debut on the sidelines, the Suns spent much of the night determining how to best take advantage of Ayton’s skills offensively. They started the game posting him up, to which the Dallas Mavericks replied with hard double-teams. Ayton was able to pass out without trouble, though mostly back to the entry passer rather than a diagonal pass to find the open teammate — a lot to ask of a player who won’t turn 20 until later this month, certainly.
By the second half, Phoenix had largely eschewed the post-up in favor of using Ayton as a roll man in the pick-and-roll. This strategy found more success, even when Ayton did not actually touch the ball. Though Harrison was unable to find Ayton on a hard roll to the rim in the third quarter, the attention he drew set up Mikal Bridges for an open corner 3, one of four triples the Suns’ other first-round pick made in his debut.
Ayton shot just 1-of-3 on attempts outside the paint, but he showed his midrange skill on a difficult turnaround jumper as he caught the ball on a hard cut.
The biggest disappointment of Ayton’s night offensively was that he wasn’t more involved, attempting only six shots and four free throw attempts in 22 minutes. (Ayton also had three turnovers.) That’s fairly typical for a big man in summer league, where the limited offenses tend to favor the skills of perimeter players who can create their own shot. In the Suns’ case, that was 2017 lottery pick Josh Jackson, who put up 16 shot attempts from thei field in his 21 minutes, making only four.cheap nfl jerseys nike china
Ayton showed more room for improvement at the defensive end of the court, where opposing big Johnathan Motley was able to overpower him in the post. Motley, who spent most of last season in the G League on a two-way contract with the Mavericks, is one of the few players in Vegas with a frame more chiseled than Ayton’s. He used that to create space to finish against Ayton one-on-one as well as complete a pair of and-ones when Ayton tried to contest after providing help to a teammate.