Ayton thinks Chris Paul’s management is strictly what he, Suns want – Arizona Sports activities
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns looks up during the second half of the NBA game against the Detroit Pistons at Talking Stick Resort Arena on February 28, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Pistons defeated the Suns 113-111. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Deandre Ayton sat down for his first Zoom interview of the 2020-21 Phoenix Suns season and saw some faces on the monitor.
Ayton couldn’t help himself to immediately share his excitement on the blockbuster addition of point guard Chris Paul.
“Y’all need to fix y’all faces, we got CP3 in Arizona! We got Chris Paul in Phoenix!” he exclaimed Thursday.
The arrival of Paul is one with lots of magnitude behind it and has layers that go far beyond the Suns acquiring an excellent point guard.
One of those, and arguably the most important one, is what Paul could potentially do for Ayton in his third season.
Ayton has been a good young player in two years that has shown he has all the talent in the world to become the best big man in the NBA. It has been a matter of him channeling that into a consistent attitude and play style in order to reach those heights.
In comes Paul to bring that out of Ayton.
“The relationship between Chris and Deandre is going to be great,” guard Devin Booker said Thursday. “I’ve already pulled Deandre aside a couple of times and been like, ‘This is what you needed and this is what I needed also.’ … Chris expects greatness out of us. He expects to win and he wants to win very badly and I’m on the same page as him. I know he’s gonna do and say anything and hold people accountable at all times to reach that goal that we’re trying to make.
“We already have the understanding amongst all of us that we have the same goals in where we wanna go. There’s gonna be a lot of constructive criticism around here, which is what we need.”
“I know he gon’ be on my tail. I need that, me and Book need that, this team needs that,” he said.
As Booker and Ayton alluded to and Paul spoke on, the 10-time All-Star has earned a reputation as one of the league’s most intense leaders. That can bring on some issues, those that have been reported on in Los Angeles and Houston.
When Paul discussed it both prompted and unprompted, what came across is that he’s someone who has tried his best to figure out how to strike a balance that he went on to illustrate.
“What you do is you learn,” he said Wednesday. “Who you can get on, who you gotta sorta be a little easier with. One thing about my approach, and I’m not saying that it’s always right and it’s not for everybody, but I’ll never ask you to do something that I wouldn’t do myself. That’s the thing.
“I had a coach when I was in Houston, he used to tell me the biggest thing that I’ll have to battle with is sometimes having guys who don’t care as much as I do but I guarantee you whatever you see is coming from a good place.”
Paul demands that respect because it’s warranted. That’s something Ayton is fully aware of and giddy enough about to want to do a backflip when he heard the news, as he put it.
“Just knowing the type of tradition and the type of dude and the type of career he had and the foundation he laid in this league, it’s tremendous,” Ayton said. “And knowing that I’m gonna be a part of his legacy? Oh yeah. I can’t stop moving. I want to lift more weights. It’s go time. You have a future Hall of Famer coming here to really show us the ropes and help me and Book out as young guys who can really take over this league.”
The man who traded for Paul, general manager James Jones, has first-hand experience with the Point God.
“I’ve known Chris, I’ve seen Chris, I’ve played against him — I know just how good he is and I’ve had a chance to see how he elevates all his teammates, specifically the big guys he plays with,” Jones said Tuesday. “For Deandre, he should be excited, because Chris will help bring the best out of him.”
Booker said that’s something Paul has already infused into the Suns in the short time they’ve been around the practice facility. There is a presence “you can feel” in the building, according to Booker.
Both Ayton and Paul are eager to get to work together and build an on-court relationship Paul stated as important.
Ayton is already thinking about it when it comes to pick-and-rolls.
“If I roll, do I roll right away, do I spin out this roll, do I roll cautiously — just knowing his terminology and what him and I could communicate on,” Ayton said.
Paul brought up the past bigs he’s thrived with in those actions, how it was a “process” to practice the rhythm with Steven Adams, Clint Capela, DeAndre Jordan and so on. Paul even joked that Jordan “couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time” before they became an outstanding point guard-center combination in LA.
Jordan was a raw, athletic big man out of Texas A&M with an infectious personality who fell to the Clippers in the second round of the 2008 NBA Draft, and Paul’s arrival in 2011 can be credited with playing a part in shaping Jordan into the great center he became.
After two seasons with Paul, Jordan led the league in rebounding his third and fourth years alongside the point guard, the same two seasons Paul led the league in assists.
Paul likely has two seasons to work with Ayton and the hope is he does the same for the 21-year-old.
The big fella is on board.
“He’s the leader and he’s the vet,” Ayton said. “If he want me to jump, I got it. That’s our vet and that’s our leader, so whatever he wants, we locked and we buying in on it. No questions asked and I’m just ready.”