The Phoenix Suns and the not-so-hard life without DeAndre Ayton

The pivot, the first global pick in the 2018 draft, was suspended for 25 games on October 25 for an 'unconscious' doping. The equipment has been replaced in his absence.

On October 25, 2019, DeAndre Ayton, first pick of the 2018 NBA draft, received a 25-match suspension penalty for having tested positive for a doping control. The substance that condemned the Bahamian was a diuretic, whose nature, according to the postulates of the World Anti-Doping Agency (AMA), is used to mask the use of other doping agents. However, as the analyzes did not show traces of more drugs, the Association chose to minimize the sanction to 25 meetings. The coup could have sentenced the Suns, who recorded the worst record of the 2018-2019 season (19-63). It did not.

Monty Williams found the formula to reformulate the system even without Ayton. The key piece is Frank Kaminski; He does not have the shot or the ball domain of Ayton, but he compensates with agility in the painting, an adequate decision making and an inclement scoring power. He has started 11 matches of 24 in which he has been considered; 11.0 points per night, 5.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 45% field. The 24 units he contributed in his presentation to the Grizzlies, in the middle of the festival of assistance of Ricky Rubio (14), confirmed the transfiguration of the Suns. A team somewhat more physical and present in the internal game than with Ayton, whose rank is even wider. With 48.6, they are eighth in points in the painted area, compared to 2018-2019, when they occupied the 11th locker in Ayton's debut season. Nor can we ignore the contribution of Aron Baynes, who landed in Phoenix last summer via China, where he played the World Cup with the semi-final Australian team. The formula has the Suns in the playoff zone (eighths of the 'wild' West, 11-13), despite everything.

The last time the Suns qualified for the post-season was in 2009-2010. Yes, ten years ago. Goran Dragic, Grant Hill and the remnants of the overwhelming D'Antoni generation: Steve Nash, Amar'e Stoudemire and Jason Richardson. If Ayton arrives, the system will change again. But, now, in a healthy and ascending dynamic. "We miss him, but Baynes and Kaminski have done a great job; Diallo also, when he has been given minutes. We have a squad that many players can be in and that is one of the virtues of this team," explains Ricky Blond to AS before facing the San Antonio Spurs in the Arena Mexico City.

Devin Booker has the same idea about the variety of weapons that the Suns have, with or without Ayton: "It gives our team a different dynamic. DeAndre is a great threat to rivals when we throw the ball up. The teams don't know how to defend it, it always ends up overturning it. It gives us several aspects and dynamics for the team and I am excited to return, "said the point guard. In theory, Ayton should return for the Suns' visit to the Clippers at Staples Center on Tuesday, December 17. Until then, Williams will have full equipment. And they will explode, now yes, the Suns of Ayton.

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