Devin Booker got all of the love after his incredible Game 1 performance in the Western Conference Finals and deservedly so.
Booker’s 40-13-11 stat line and second half dominance propelled the Suns to a series starting win without Chris Paul. The performance is second to maybe only Kevin Durant’s 49 point triple double as the best individual performance of the NBA postseason.
But this post isn’t about Booker.
This one is about Deandre Ayton.
This is the official Deandre Ayton Appreciation Post. Someone hit my DA music.
Ayton rarely produces a highlight, his role isn’t designed to go viral. He doesn’t do anything on or off the court that brings media attention, unlike some of his fellow bigs, but he still deserves it.
Deandre Ayton is the last big standing.
We appreciate you DA.
Every series, every game, every moment where the Suns NEEDED Ayton this series, he has shown up and been there.
Ayton has more double doubles this postseason than Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid, Clint Capela and Nikola Jokic.
Need Ayton to save the Lakers series from spiraling out of control? Ayton put up roughly 20 points and 15 rebounds in Games 1-4 before handing the series off to the rest of the Suns starting lineup.
Need Ayton to neutralize the reigning NBA MVP? No problem, Ayton avoided foul trouble, averaged a double double and made life HARD for Nikola Jokic.
Real recognized real when Jokic sent DA a token of his respect after the series was over.
Now to start the Clippers series, the Suns needed Ayton to avoid Rudy Gobert’s fate. Gobert was run off the court by the Clippers in the final two games of their series against the Jazz. Ayton’s up to that challenge. Dropping 20 and 9, keeping the Suns from an early big hole and earning the respect of the Clippers.
This isn’t about breakouts, future contracts or becoming a star for Deandre Ayton. This isn’t about the future. Its not about his past.
Its about right now. And right now Deandre Ayton is everything the Suns need him to be.