DeAndre Ayton’s impact this season is one of the major reasons behind the Phoenix Suns’ dominating campaign. He is becoming one of the best big men in the league, and one aspect of his game deserves more respect: his hook shot.
Ayton’s hook shot
Ayton is shooting 67.3 percent on his hook shots this season. He is the highest among centers, including Karl Anthony Towns (61.6 percent), Nikola Jokic (61.3 percent), Domantas Sabonis (58.8 percent), Joel Embiid (56.7 percent), Jonas Valanciunas (56.6 percent), and Giannis Antetokounmpo (54.8 percent).
How lethal is DeAndre’s hook shot? His shooting clip is as efficient as a 45 percent three-point shooter. So when opposing teams find Ayton in his comfort zone, that’s a sure two points for the Suns.
Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s hook shot efficiency was 56 percent in his career. So DeAndre is on the right track if he wants to become a great player someday. If he focuses on being consistent and working on other areas of his game, it would be impossible to stop him on the low block.
Should Ayton stay or go?
The Phoenix Suns offense goes through the wing players. Meanwhile, their starting center is only averaging 16.8 points, and 10 rebounds per game, not exactly the numbers the likes of Embiid, Jokic, or Antetokounmpo deliver every night. But Ayton’s contribution should not be neglected.
He is a big reason why the Suns were the first to clinch a playoff spot. Ayton provides the height and length in the shaded lane. If the Suns want to repeat their run to the finals, they will have to go through Embiid, Giannis, Jokic, or Gobert, and they need DeAndre against them. But the stalemate between the front office and the big man could lead to him signing with other teams at the end of the season.
Ayton reportedly wanted a 5-year, $170 million deal, but the front office did not think he was worth that much. Sure, they can perhaps get DeAndre’s numbers from other big men, but it must be considered how the 23-year-old fit in well with Devin Booker and Chris Paul. Ayton stayed professional and did what he was asked to do. Plus, he is relatively injury-free and still has so much to offer. The Phoenix Suns would be making a mistake if they let him go in the free agency.