Deandre Ayton changed his style
Against the Pelicans and the Jazz, before the last success against the Blazers, Deandre Ayton stood out with two 3-point shots attempted and registered. He had not scored at 3-point since January 14 and this season he has only tried his luck eleven times behind the line at 7m25.
“I am very comfortable at the moment”he justifies himself for AZ Central, to evoke his two award-winning baskets. “Honestly, I take what the defenses give me. It’s a shot I’m working on and my teammates believe in months. The coach told me to shoot, so I do. »
If seeing him venture behind the arc remains very rare, on the other hand, he has moved well away from the circle since the All-Star Game. This season, the Phoenix pivot took 21% of his shots beyond three meters from the circle, while for three games, he took 41% of his shots at this distance or further. How to explain it?
“The teams have adapted and they are blocking the racquet”he analyzes. “I’m not saying it’s all the time, but when I go to the circle, it makes things difficult for me. So I step aside, I take what is left for me. »
We must not forget either that Deandre Ayton is deprived of Chris Paul. He no longer has the playmaker to serve him, to play pick-and-roll with him, and inevitably, when you have a setter at the « CP3 » level who can find difficult angles, it helps to have the ball near the circle.
More points, less rebounds
For the moment, his effectiveness is not called into question by his choices and by the absence of Chris Paul since he has averaged 20.3 points for three matches, with 74% shooting success!
If he is more involved offensively since the absence of the All-Star leader, he is statistically less good on the rebound. He is only 6.7 catches on average in these three games, while he was 10.3 rebounds per game in the first part of the season. This time, it is Monty Williams who advances several explanations.
“Some actions he defends on the pick-and-roll and then he has to get back in the key”delivers the Phoenix coach. “With our defense, there are times when he’s on the shooter, so it’s hard for him to be on the rebound afterwards. Basically, it’s not that bad because the other greats can take rebounds and Ayton can still make games with 15 or 20 rebounds. In addition, our exteriors are doing a better job of helping the rebound, compared to what happened in the playoffs last season. So maybe he got a plug or two stolen. »
The effort is actually more collective in Arizona. JaVale McGee and Bismack Biyombo (11.8 average rebounds between them) perfectly support Deandre Ayton, without forgetting Jae Crowder, Devin Booker and Torrey Craig who also help and are all more than 5 rebounds on average.