Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton got off to a great start on Wednesday night in the season opener against the Nuggets. He was 5/7 from the field and scored 13 of his 15 points tonight in the opening half, including 8 in the first quarter. Ayton added six rebounds for the Suns, and he knocked down one three-pointer on three attempts, tying his career-high for three-point attempts in a game.
However, Ayton would take only three shots the rest of the way as the Suns fell to Denver 110-98.
After the game, Ayton discussed why he did not get many touches in the second half.
“I just believe the ball stopped moving,” Ayton said. “We lost a little bit of rhythm because of our missed shots. Defense is what creates our offense on this team. Fatigue kicks in and not that second effort of getting back on defense and playing the right way. It tends to not come your way sometimes, and just trying to find it, guys on our team trying to find it. It just didn’t happen the way we wanted to make it happen.”
The 23-year-old Ayton was hoping to get a contract extension before Monday’s deadline. The number one overall pick in 2018 was reportedly hoping to get a max contract. However, the two sides could not find common ground, and now, he will be a restricted free agent at the season’s end.
According to Ayton, he’s disappointed that he did not get the extension.
“One thing about me, throughout my whole life, I’ve always learned to control what I can control,” he said. “At the same time, obviously, I’m disappointed, but I’m still trying to get us back to the Finals. I still have to represent the team and myself as well. I’m just a competitor, man. I just like to compete to the best. Every time I’m in between the lines, that’s what you’re going to see out of me, nothing else.”
Ayton will have to go out and prove he’s a max guy this season. In the end, if he balls out, he will get paid, whether with the Suns or elsewhere.