Deandre Ayton Earns High Regard as One of NBA's Premier Centers in Blazers



Deandre Ayton Earns High Regard as One of NBA’s Premier Centers in Blazers

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According to Yahoo Sports’ Vincent Goodwill, the Portland Trail Blazers hold Deandre Ayton in high regard, considering him one of the top five centers in the NBA. The Blazers secured Ayton’s services in a three-team blockbuster trade involving Damian Lillard and the Milwaukee Bucks.

Even before Lillard expressed his desire to be traded, the Blazers had explored options to acquire Ayton from the Phoenix Suns, as reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Portland aims to pair Ayton with rising talents Scoot Henderson and Shaedon Sharpe.

In the 2022-23 season, Ayton posted impressive stats, averaging 18.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 1.7 assists while shooting 58.9% from the field and 76.0% from the free-throw line. He notched 36 double-doubles.

However, Ayton’s performance took a dip in the 2023 playoffs. During 10 games against the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets, he averaged 13.4 points and 9.7 rebounds. In the Nuggets series, his numbers were 10.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, with no positive plus-minus rating. This ultimately led to Phoenix’s loss to Denver in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Ayton, who holds career averages of 16.7 points and 10.4 rebounds, attempted to leave the Suns in the previous offseason by signing a lucrative four-year, $132.9 million offer sheet with the Indiana Pacers in restricted free agency. However, Phoenix matched Indiana’s offer to retain him.

The first overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Ayton now joins a rebuilding Blazers team. His relationship with former Suns head coach Monty Williams wasn’t ideal, making it intriguing to see if Blazers coach Chauncey Billups can establish a better connection with him.


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