As great as Devin Booker and Chris Paul have been during the Phoenix Suns‘ incredible postseason run, third-year big man Deandre Ayton has arguably been just as crucial to the team’s success. Ayton has averaged 16.6 points and 11.4 rebounds on 71 percent field goal shooting during his first-ever playoffs, and has almost assuredly earned himself a max contract this offseason.
Ayton recently thanked Suns coach Monty Williams for a renewed work ethic this season, but after Phoenix’s 84-80 Game 4 win on Saturday, in which Ayton put up a monster line of 19 points, 22 rebounds (nine offensive) and four blocks, he credited his development to another member of the Suns: Chris Paul.
“I love CP, man. Like I said, that’s really the only teammate that really push me. Like big bro type push. Knowing what I got and that I ain’t never thought that I had,” Ayton said after Game 4. “I think he was the best thing that happened to my career. I can say that every day.
“Just C is really a dude who pays attention to detail. It’s not how you say it, it’s what he’s saying. I think most people don’t get it. It’s just the message for real. And he cares so much, it’s actually great. I’ve never known a guy who cares so much about basketball and competing at everything. And it’s contagious, and that’s what he built in me as well, and just having him as a teammate and the experience that he’s went through and teaching me the little things has helped me. And it’s working.”