Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton is not accustomed to losing, and the fifth-year player feels his team lacks heart. Playing down to their competition is the textbook example. Through 38 games, Phoenix is 20-18 and ranks eighth in the Western Conference standings.
“I don’t even know, man. I don’t even know what’s going on,” said Ayton on what’s leading to losses, following Monday afternoon’s 102-83 loss to the New York Knicks. “For me, I could tell you this — I’m not used to the no fight in us.”
According to multiple NBA betting sites, the Suns possess the eighth-best odds to win the championship. A few sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers.
"We can make all the excuses we want, but the games got to get played." Damion Lee. pic.twitter.com/MMrvMQV6hk
— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) January 3, 2023
“I’m used to us being down a hundred, and we still are going to pull out and win the game, or we still have that mentality like we’re about to win this game,” added Ayton. “Right now, we don’t have that, so that’s the only thing that’s going on throughout these games and why we’re losing.
“We just got to really lock in and fight. Right now, we can’t be thinking that somebody’s going to feel sorry for us or thinking somebody is going to save us — nobody is going to save us. We have the next game for this road trip to close this thing off strong in Cleveland and have that fight power.”
Deandre Ayton feels the Suns have to fight back, team lacks competitive drive it had last season
Ayton is averaging 17.5 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game through 34 starts this season. Plus, he’s shooting 60.5% from the field and 36.8% beyond the arc. Not to mention, the Arizona product has also logged 17 double-doubles.
Moreover, the 24-year-old ranks 14th in total rebounds (321), 12th in 2-point field goals (253), 15th in total rebound percentage (18.3%), 18th in offensive rebound percentage (10.8%), and 13th in defensive rebound percentage (26.1%).
Last Wednesday, in the Suns’ 127-102 loss against the Washington Wizards, Ayton scored a season-high 31 points in 37 minutes of action. He finished 14-of-22 (63.6%) shooting from the floor and knocked down one 3-pointer.
During the offseason, Ayton signed a four-year, $132.93 million contract with Phoenix, having matched the offer sheet signed with the Indiana Pacers. The Suns center is making $30,913,750 this season and will earn $32,459,438 next season.
Including their latest loss to the Knicks, the Suns are now on a three-game skid. Phoenix is 1-6 in its last seven games. Of course, the team ranks 15th in scoring at the moment, averaging 114.2 points per game. And the Suns are allowing 111.7 points per contest, which ranks 11th overall.
Right now, it appears Phoenix is just a mediocre team. During the team’s last few playoff series, the Suns were able to build a two-game lead against their opponents. However, they went on to collapse versus the Milwaukee Bucks and Dallas Mavericks.
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