Are Suns’ Ayton and Kokoskov not seeing eye to eye?

Suns coach Igor Kokoskov had a talk with rookie center Deandre Ayton following a game against the Pelicans.

The season has not started out the way the Phoenix Suns were hoping. After Devin Booker vocalized at the end of the 2017-18 season that he was tired of not making the playoffs, the Suns made a big effort to construct a team that would content for a playoff spot in the western conference.

That hasn’t happened, instead, the Suns are the second worst team in the NBA at 2-10 and now head coach Igor Kokoskov and No. 1 draft pick Deandre Ayton reportedly aren’t seeing eye to eye.

According to Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic, Kokoskov wanted Ayton to be more aggressive in their game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night.

“I think he was too passive to start the game,” Kokoskov said. “It’s a psychological moment, which is understandable. He’s a rookie playing against an All-Star, but I think he’s better than that in terms of being aggressive, being himself and just playing.”

Ayton took exception to his coach’s’ comments.

“I don’t know what he means by that,” Ayton said. “To me, I’m all about a rhythm. I’m a rhythm-type of player. I don’t hunt shots down. That’s not my play style. My play style is my teammates know where I want the ball and really feeling out the game. Not saying I’m on a late start. I’m still playing defense.”

Early returns on Ayton have been positive, with the rookie starting every game for the Suns so far this season and putting up eight double-doubles through 12 games. He has the potential to be a star in the league, and there will be nights where he gets bested, but disagreeing with your coach isn’t a good look for any player that only has 12 games under his belt.

In all likelihood, Kokoskov and Ayton have discussed the comments made by both parties with some sort of understanding coming out of the conversation.

But for a team that already looks to be heading for a tough season, having two pieces that Suns fans are hoping will be around for the long-term disagreeing on something isn’t a good sign and only adds to the narrative that the Suns are a dysfunctional franchise.