The Ayton Plan

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Ayton is trade eligible today, and the clock is ticking louder on James Jones' desk

This is a good article by Bright Side Of The Suns with some insights from having covered the Suns on Ayton. I do think he's right that Ayton has checked out on the Suns. Ayton really doesn't espouse the goals and drive he once did in interviews. It seems he is just lacing them up and playing without much thought on playing with force.

The longer he's here the higher probability he turns into a Kwame Brown sort of player that just goes through the motions. He's like the center version of Michael Beasley. Sure it looks like he's an impactful player looking at the box score or his stat line but he's a bonehead and he's capable of so much more if he'd get it together.
 

Covert Rain

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I think it’s safe to say Ayton is what he is and will never transform into a different player. If he was going to step up and mature and turn into a go to player, he had his best opportunity while Booker was out.

The Suns are in a tight spot. If we could rob some team (which isn’t going to happen), I say trade him. However, he has to agree to a trade at this point. Plus, the rest of the league has to see what we do which means we are not going to get #1 value for him.

Suns simply might be stuck with one of the most dissapointing #1 picks in history.
 

AzStevenCal

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And weak personalities like Ayton are why one so appreciates types like Josh Okogie, even while acknowledging that Okogie is only a role player.
I'm sure you know this but I just want to accentuate that we're judging him as a basketball player not as a human being. We don't know what he is as a person other than he's a big goofy kid that loves his family and worked his butt off to take them from poverty to generational wealth by excelling at a game he doesn't appear to really love. Weak personality? I have no idea but I doubt that's accurate.
 

AzStevenCal

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Then you weren't really trying to figure that out. You would need only to pay more attention to "not facilitative of winning." But I'm happy to try again. It's Ayton's basketball personality that is weak. His human personality...is none of my concern. For thinking I was concerned with it, the comment was sanctimonious.

Excelling? Ayton doesn't excel.

His inability to suppress the big-goofy-kid personality on the court makes me feel more appreciative of Amare Stoudemire, who didn't suffer from that particular liability--yes, having this personality type on the basketball court absolutely is a liability.
He has excelled. You don't get to be the number one pick in a talent laden draft without having excelled. Basketball, now that he's "earned" the wealth he wanted for his family, apparently isn't as much of a priority for him as we want it to be.
 

cheesebeef

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I'm sure you know this but I just want to accentuate that we're judging him as a basketball player not as a human being. We don't know what he is as a person other than he's a big goofy kid that loves his family and worked his butt off to take them from poverty to generational wealth by excelling at a game he doesn't appear to really love. Weak personality? I have no idea but I doubt that's accurate.
This. There is a massive difference between how I feel about Ayton the player on the court vs. Ayton the person off it .Calling him a twerp and the like is stupid. From all reports he’s a really good, goofy guy off the court who’s taken care of his entire family.

He gets enough guff for his play on the court. No reason to pile on him for off the court issues when they don’t seem to exist in the first place.
 

Ouchie-Z-Clown

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We'll have to disagree on what constitutes excelling. It is a word inviting many sets of parameters, I grant. I just don't care that Ayton made it into an NBA draft and got drafted #1; I don't call it excelling.
Compared to the thousands upon thousands of basketball players globally pretty difficult to argue with “excelling” in a macro sense.
 

Covert Rain

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You really think so?

I wouldn’t go that far. I think there are far more #1 picks that were more crappy.
Yes, but let me provide context. I don't mean from the standpoint of overall talent. Ayton is a talented guy. We have seen it in the playoffs. The dude has a ton of talent. I am not saying he is a Kwame Brown. I mean from the standpoint that #1 overall picks come with really lofty expectations. Like I am going to dominate the league expectations. When a #1 pick doesn't reach that potential? It's a massive let down, fair or not. You expect to get a generational player with that pick. Unfortunately, that was the #3 pick in that draft that year.

Ayton is never going to dominate the league like Shaq, Duncan, Robinson or Akeem did. We know what we have in Ayton IMO. Instead of getting a generational dominant big man, we got a guy who is talented but will never reach the lofty expectations of a #1 pick. I have been praying to be wrong but IMO if you are hungry and want to prove yourself? There was no better time to establish yourself then with Book out.
 
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Yes, but let me provide context. I don't mean from the standpoint of overall talent. Ayton is a talented guy. We have seen it in the playoffs. The dude has a ton of talent. I am not saying he is a Kwame Brown. I mean from the standpoint that #1 overall picks come with really lofty expectations. Like I am going to dominate the league expectations. When a #1 pick doesn't reach that potential? It's a massive let down, fair or not. You expect to get a generational player with that pick. Unfortunately, that was the #3 pick in that draft that year.

Ayton is never going to dominate the league like Shaq, Duncan, Robinson or Akeem did. We know what we have in Ayton IMO. Instead of getting a generational dominant big man, we got a guy who is talented but will never reach the lofty expectations of a #1 pick.
Statistically, he's actually one of the better #1 picks in history. But he doesn't pass the eye test and that's a big problem.
 

Covert Rain

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Statistically, he's actually one of the better #1 picks in history. But he doesn't pass the eye test and that's a big problem.
It's more than the eye test. He literally doesn't show up for stretches. Compare his numbers to year #5 of some of the HOF big men. Those guys not only took over their teams but started to dominate the league. That is not Ayton.
 

cheesebeef

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Statistically, he's actually one of the better #1 picks in history. But he doesn't pass the eye test and that's a big problem.
He also doesn’t pass the impact test.

He’s Al Jefferson-esque… in his best case scenario (mostly because Jefferson actually became a really solid scorer). Someone who puts up nice looking numbers but doesn’t make his teammates better and makes very little impact on wins and losses if he’s one of your top two players.
 

Ouchie-Z-Clown

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I disagree with it because of the example provided by Bobby Jones. And by all the low draft picks and even undrafted players who eventually became very valuable to their teams. Two of those, we saw: Jeff Hornacek, and Elliot Perry (37th pick in his draft). I call them players who, as far as draft pedigree, came from nothing. You can see that the only kind of excelling that interests me is on the court.

And then there's always Dan Majerle: we all remember that he got booed but won the hearts of all fans by working his butt off. Whereas about Ayton, someone should have said "You'll be sorry you ever drafted this young man."
You haven’t been around long enough to know that I was perhaps Ayton’s greatest critic on ASFN. Still don’t tread lightly in him. But some of these takes are ridiculous. You’d think he was completely worthless. Is he a Disappointment? Yes. Is he a good basketball player? Also yes.
 

Ouchie-Z-Clown

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He also doesn’t pass the impact test.

He’s Al Jefferson-esque… in his best case scenario (mostly because Jefferson actually became a really solid scorer). Someone who puts up nice looking numbers but doesn’t make his teammates better and makes very little impact on wins and losses if he’s one of your top two players.
That’s why you have to view him as a #3. And he’s kinda a mid-level #3. With a high #4 like bridges we would need a pretty high level #2 with them and book to be a championship team imo. That, or the rest of our role players would have to be absolute nails.
 

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That’s why you have to view him as a #3. And he’s kinda a mid-level #3. With a high #4 like bridges we would need a pretty high level #2 with them and book to be a championship team imo. That, or the rest of our role players would have to be absolute nails.
Think about the “great” big men in the league. The best are Joker, Embiid and Giannis. All of them are clear #1 options on their teams. Number one pick or no, that is hard to live up to by any player.

I still think he has the tools to be a David Robinson player but I doubt he’ll be able to put together the work ethic Robinson had. So we are destined to play “what if” with him. And it’s not because he’s on the Suns, he’ll be this on any team in the league.
 

Ouchie-Z-Clown

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We'll have to disagree that the opinions are ridiculous. They are all expressions of "work as hard as you can, or get off the court." And you will note that I said elsewhere that Ayton is better than Anthony Bennett. Now that's a worthless player, not Ayton. And if I thought Ayton were worthless, why don't I want to trade him? I have said I don't know what should be done with him.
You don’t know what you want you want to do with a guy you’re “sorry we ever drafted?” Perhaps your writing isn’t entirely clear but the way you talk about him it’s no stretch to interpret it as you think he’s worthless. In your opinion what redeemable qualities does he have, if any.

Even in my darkest Ayton days I would speak to what positives existed, acknowledging he wasn’t a total zero. Trying to give a fair balancing of his pros and cons. In the absence of that we have nothing else to work with other than your anger at/with him.
 

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I have two contexts that the "sorry the Suns ever drafted this young man" remark need to be kept in, and I've already stated both. One is the context of Luka Doncic: yes, absolutely I'm sorry the Suns drafted Ayton instead of Doncic. They had to pick one of the prospects but didn't pick the most driven one. I regret that.

The second context is Dan Majerle as an archetype of an unheralded pick who then worked his butt off. Ayton plays the opposite way from him.

Ayton wasn't unheralded, at all. He was viewed as the #1 pick throughout his freshman year in college despite a slew of talent across the country. Ayton was viewed in the mold of a David Robinson big man who would be a franchises centerpiece for a decade or more. It wasn't until late in the year that Luka started garnering attention as a potential top prospect for the draft and even then most viewed Ayton as the safe pick. You always take the generational big, especially when compared to the unknown foreign prospect that was viewed as position less and not in a positive way as he's viewed now.

Once the Suns got the #1 pick though Ayton was essentially penciled in by fans and media as the #1 pick because the story was too good to be true. A once proud franchise reaches its bottom and has the chance to rebound by selecting it's first true franchise Center some 50 years since the coin flip for Kareem cost them a franchise center. Add in how Ayton was seen as a local product since he played high school ball in Phoenix and Collegiately down the way in Tucson, it was a no brainer the Suns would take him.

Had the Suns had a real franchise Center before or Ayton wasn't from the valley in a way, he'd have been run out of town by now. He's cut a lot of slack by fans for various reasons and those are two of the biggest things working in his favor when his future is questioned here as a Sun. If anything he was too heralded and that as well as his aloof attitude has created some of the issues here.
 

Yuma

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Ayton wasn't unheralded, at all. He was viewed as the #1 pick throughout his freshman year in college despite a slew of talent across the country. Ayton was viewed in the mold of a David Robinson big man who would be a franchises centerpiece for a decade or more. It wasn't until late in the year that Luka started garnering attention as a potential top prospect for the draft and even then most viewed Ayton as the safe pick. You always take the generational big, especially when compared to the unknown foreign prospect that was viewed as position less and not in a positive way as he's viewed now.

Once the Suns got the #1 pick though Ayton was essentially penciled in by fans and media as the #1 pick because the story was too good to be true. A once proud franchise reaches its bottom and has the chance to rebound by selecting it's first true franchise Center some 50 years since the coin flip for Kareem cost them a franchise center. Add in how Ayton was seen as a local product since he played high school ball in Phoenix and Collegiately down the way in Tucson, it was a no brainer the Suns would take him.

Had the Suns had a real franchise Center before or Ayton wasn't from the valley in a way, he'd have been run out of town by now. He's cut a lot of slack by fans for various reasons and those are two of the biggest things working in his favor when his future is questioned here as a Sun. If anything he was too heralded and that as well as his aloof attitude has created some of the issues here.
Also, people keep leaving out Luka was not a known commodity. Execs from the NBA were flying to Europe to watch him in European games, which were hard to equate to the NBA game. I blame Luka's agent for Luka NOT being the consensus number one pick. Luka's agent could have gotten Luka into NBA work outs, etc., and driven the hype much more. I remember pre draft, draft experts basically saying, "I haven't seen this young man, but I hear he has an NBA game already." Heck, I drove from Prescott to Phoenix and listened to an NPR documentary on him because NPR thought he was such an enigma. People make it sound so cut and dried, and it wasn't.
 

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You haven’t been around long enough to know that I was perhaps Ayton’s greatest critic on ASFN. Still don’t tread lightly in him. But some of these takes are ridiculous. You’d think he was completely worthless. Is he a Disappointment? Yes. Is he a good basketball player? Also yes.
Good basketball players making 30M+ make for a bad team. He is soft with a low BB IQ and less than zero desire
 

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Regardless of how Ayton stacks up against other #1 picks, in his own draft class I still don’t see how you take anyone else aside from Doncic at #1.

Sure, in hindsight you can imagine trade-down scenarios where you pick up some pairing of Young, SGA, Brunson, Robert Williams etc. — and maybe that’s better than Ayton now. But we were also only two years removed from taking Bender and Chriss…
 

AzStevenCal

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Regardless of how Ayton stacks up against other #1 picks, in his own draft class I still don’t see how you take anyone else aside from Doncic at #1.

Sure, in hindsight you can imagine trade-down scenarios where you pick up some pairing of Young, SGA, Brunson, Robert Williams etc. — and maybe that’s better than Ayton now. But we were also only two years removed from taking Bender and Chriss…
I wanted a trade down at that time to get Ayton (or JJJ) plus Trae Young but seriously, that would have been almost as big of a mistake as simply not taking Luka. The decision was understandable but we made the wrong call. Luka, besides being a huge jerk, is already playing at the level of an all time great and is an almost unprecedented cash cow for the Mavericks.
 

Covert Rain

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I wanted a trade down at that time to get Ayton (or JJJ) plus Trae Young but seriously, that would have been almost as big of a mistake as simply not taking Luka. The decision was understandable but we made the wrong call. Luka, besides being a huge jerk, is already playing at the level of an all time great and is an almost unprecedented cash cow for the Mavericks.
Don't forget cry baby. I have not seen a player cry that much since the old Spurs teams.
 

AzStevenCal

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Don't forget cry baby. I have not seen a player cry that much since the old Spurs teams.
Yeah that's wrapped up in the "jerk" label for me. Tim Duncan was legendary in his ability to whine and manipulate the referees but he's an amatuer compared to Luka. I'd have loved to have either player on my team but I'm pretty sure I'd have to swallow my own vomit every now and then.
 

MaoTosiFanClub

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people forget that the Suns needed as close to a sure thing with that draft pick as they could. Ayton was always going to be a productive NBA player with the ceiling being a star. (which he’ll never get to, his demeanor and skill set somewhat attributable to a late start to basketball prohibit it). With all the unknowns of Luka and Trae’s size I don’t think the Suns FO and ownership wanted to take any risks whatsoever.
 

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