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First overall draft pick Deandre Ayton has given the Phoenix Suns new hope and Ayton showed why in an intra-quad scrimmage over the weekend, relays Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic.
“You can sense his presence,” new Suns coach Igor Kokoskov said of Ayton, via Rankin. “You can feel him, and that’s the main thing. You can coach that. It’s a gift that he has. I know that he was nervous and excited at the same time to be in front of the fans because this is his team. These are his fans. A lot of people came here to see him for the first time.”
Ayton is a 7-footer who spent one season at Arizona. He joins a Suns cast that includes standout shooting guard Devin Booker, small forward T.J. Warren, forward Josh Jackson and recently acquired forward Ryan Anderson. The Suns are still finding out who will run the point (or if that player is even on the team).
But Ayton gives them another reason to get excited about the frontcourt.
As Rankin reported, one aspect of the rookie’s game that has been a pleasant surprise in summer league and training camp — his passing.
“Coach Igor is always telling me I’m one of the playmakers on the team,” Ayton said. “I bring so much attention, I can make plays for the rest of the team and take some pressure off of guys on the wings.”
Are the Suns playoff bound? Hard to say at the moment, but likely not. Still, Ayton is giving them reason to think brightly about the future.
“He knows how to play the game the right way,” said Booker, who’s still out of action and sporting a splint on his injured shooting hand. “Somebody’s open, he makes the pass. If it’s one-on-one, he makes the play he needs to make. It’s a lot of maturity for a first-year player.”