In the eyes of many fans and pundits, the Phoenix Suns once again have a championship-caliber team after a disappointing start to the 2022-23 season.
They stunned the NBA by trading for superstar Kevin Durant in February, and they paid a very steep price to get him by giving up 3-and-D wing Mikal Bridges, key reserve Cameron Johnson, and five future first-round draft picks to the Brooklyn Nets.
Phoenix now possesses three current or former All-Stars in Durant, Devin Booker and Chris Paul.
A player who may be a little bit overlooked is starting center Deandre Ayton, but he showed off his touch recently by making an underhanded shot from the free throw line on the opposite end of the court.
Deandre Ayton from the opposite free throw line. #Suns pic.twitter.com/cIrqOY50yS
— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) March 28, 2023
Ayton, who has played all five of his pro seasons with the Suns, nearly left them last summer when he signed an offer sheet with the Indiana Pacers, only to have the Suns match it.
He is averaging 18.3 points and 10.1 rebounds a game this season, although his shooting accuracy has dipped from 63.4 percent last year to 58.9 percent this year.
Durant has played only three games with Phoenix because of two different injuries, but he is reportedly nearing a return from a sprained ankle.
The team will have very little time to get him up to speed and get used to playing with him, and men such as Ayton and Booker will have to sacrifice touches and shot attempts to accommodate the former league MVP.
Such an adjustment won’t be easy, and the lack of time together could spell the Suns’ demise in the playoffs.NEXT: NBA Fans React To What Charles Barkley Said About Kevin Durant