The Phoenix Suns had an awkward situation during Game 3 of the Denver Nuggets series.
While Devin Booker and Kevin Durant stole the show combining for 86 points, DeAndre Ayton struggled.
The center couldn’t find his rhythm and once again struggled to make an impact in the game.
Ayton was sent to the bench late in the game, and he wasn’t happy about it.
So much so that when Chris Paul tried to shake his hand, he completely ignored the veteran.
#Suns Deandre Ayton was visibly upset with being pulled down the stretch of Game 3.
Chris Paul tried to dap him up but Ayton ignored him.@Sports360AZ #NBATwitter #SunsTwitter https://t.co/SrQyYKzOhM pic.twitter.com/SRUh7ZreYR
— Eliav Gabay (@eliavgabay) May 6, 2023
He’s super talented but his lack of experience & BBall instincts are painfully apparent. What’s worse is he doesn’t even try to compensate for his shortcomings with effort, he just takes up space hoping
/wishing a rebound will find its way to his hands instead of going to get it
— Gary Gray (@GaryGray1972) May 6, 2023
Yes, Ayton needs to be encouraged by Kevin and Devin. He is working through his insecurity and dealing with Jokic. He must not be afraid to attack the basket and Jokic. Devin and KD have to direct him because he isn't going to do it naturally. Stop criticizing him help him out.
— Tim's Truths- DrPH, Public Health Behavior Analyst (@babyboi2u) May 6, 2023
Ayton was expected to take another step this year, but it seems his maturity hasn’t.
He is the key if the Suns plan to slow down Nikola Jokic.
That hasn’t happened so far, and it’s mandatory that Ayton gets his head in the right place if the Suns have any chance in this series.
Things haven’t been easy for Ayton, who looks lost on the court at times with many questioning his effort.
Many also believe his relationship with Monty Williams is broken and he may not want to be with the Suns in the long-term.
The Nuggets are taking advantage of Ayton so far, leading the series 2-1.
Game 4 could be crucial for both teams, and Denver will try to exploit Ayton’s struggles again.
It could come down to Booker and Durant to save the Suns, but the job will be harder to accomplish with Ayton playing at his current level.NEXT: Devin Booker Comments On DeAndre Ayton's Playoff Struggles