Former Wildcat Deandre Ayton is a finalist for Rookie of the Year!

Following a terrific, rookie season, the former Wildcat and No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton, is a finalist for Rookie of the Year!

While it was a rather miserable season in Phoenix, one of the few, shining spots for the Suns, was the sensational play of their rookie and our former Wildcat, Deandre Ayton!

A pure joy to watch for the 19-63 Suns, Ayton averaged 16.3 points and 10.8 rebounds per game, in just 71 games played this year. More amazing, is that Ayton did this while averaging just barely 12 shots per game.

Just for comparison, similarly compared players to Ayton like; Tim Duncan, David Robinson and Karl Anthony-Towns all averaged 15.7, 15.9 and 14.1 shots per game in their rookie years respectively.

So to quantify what Ayton did, despite the fewer opportunities and having no true point guard, what he did is truly impressive. Plus, Ayton still had an impressive 39 double-doubles this, one of the highest totals for a rookie in a season in quite some time!

But why did he never seem to get the hype this year? Well, that’s hard to say, but finally Ayton is getting some much deserved recognition, as he was named a finalist for the NBA’s ‘Rookie of the Year’ Award. The news of Aytons’ candidacy broke on Friday evening.

He will be in competition with fellow NBA Rookies, Luka Doncic and Trae Young.

Likely running in last place here, Doncic is the perceived leader, after the former No. 3 pick averaged 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game this season.

Heck, Young had quite the season himself, finishing the year with 19.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and 8.1 assists per game.

While Doncic and Young’s stats stick out a bit more, remember, they both have the ball in their hands significantly more. It’s rare for a post player like Ayton needing to create for himself and to try and beat players off the dribble or shoot three’s.

No, his production is dependent upon how frequent he’s fed the ball, and that’s where having a competent point guard would be beneficial for him and his production this past season. So to be fair, comparing Ayton to both Young and Doncic, that’s like comparing ‘Apples to Oranges’.

Either way, we are just excited for Ayton, and are glad he’s just getting some much-deserved recognition.

Here are some of his highlights from this past season…

At Zona Zealots, we’re happy to see Ayton get some well-deserved recognition and hope he continues to prove many of his doubters wrong! Bear Down, Arizona!

 

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