Deandre Ayton embracing contemporary begin with Path Blazers

Deandre Ayton Portland Trail Blazers NBA

Portland Path Blazers heart Deandre Ayton poses for a portrait in the course of the NBA basketball crew’s media day in Portland, Ore., Monday, Oct. 2, 2023. (AP Photograph/Craig Mitchelldyer)

PORTLAND, Ore. — Middle Deandre Ayton made a promise to Portland Path Blazers followers because the crew embarks on a season of uncertainty.

“I carry dominance,” he stated. “My title is DominAyton.”

Ayton got here to the Path Blazers within the three-team commerce that despatched Damian Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks. He was all smiles as he was launched this week, mugging for cameras and looking out ahead to a contemporary begin after 5 years with the Phoenix Suns.



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“New starting,” Ayton stated. “I get to point out the world, present you guys who I’m as a participant on and off the court docket. Serving to the younger guys on this crew win. Instructing them find out how to win.”

Ayton will assist fill the function that Jusuf Nurkic — who was despatched to the Suns as a part of the blockbuster commerce — had final season. The Blazers additionally bought Robert Williams III in a commerce with the Boston Celtics, and in consequence Portland has a pair of 25-year-old large males who’ve been on groups which have performed within the NBA Finals.

“We’re going to put loads of stress on the paint on the offensive finish, and defensively we’ll shield the rim,” coach Chauncey Billups stated. “It’s going to be loads of enjoyable.”

Ayton, the No. 1 decide within the 2018 draft, averaged 18 factors and 10.0 rebounds in 67 video games with the Suns final season nevertheless it appeared his time in Phoenix was drawing to a detailed. He signed a four-year take care of Indiana final yr earlier than the Suns matched it, and rumors endured this summer time that he could be traded.

Deandre Ayton Suns NBA

FILE – Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns misses a rebound in the course of the first half towards the Brooklyn Nets at Footprint Middle on January 19, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona.  Chris Coduto/Getty Pictures/AFP

Billups emphasised the Blazers aren’t going to ask Ayton to run the present, like Joel Embiid in Philadelphia or Nikola Jokic in Denver. The Path Blazers within the post-Lillard period might be extra of a bunch effort.

“We’re not bringing in Deandre for him to be Embiid, the place we’re gonna throw him the ball 30 occasions a sport and say, ‘Alright, go be MVP.′ That’s not gonna be his function. Nevertheless, he most likely can have a extra expanded function than he had at Phoenix,” Billups stated. “However once more, like we’ve bought loads of younger guys which might be gonna be making an attempt to determine it out. Y’all understand how I really feel about connectivity and being related and people issues take loads of time.”

For his profession, Ayton has averaged 16.7 factors, 10.4 rebounds and one block per sport. He was key to the Suns’ run to the NBA Finals in 2021. The subsequent season, the Suns completed with the league’s finest report.

Final season, Phoenix was eradicated by Denver within the second spherical of the playoffs. Ayton didn’t play in Sport 6 of the collection due to a rib damage.

Blazers common supervisor Joe Cronin maintains that Ayton hasn’t but reached his potential.

“Particularly with large males, it takes quite a bit to get to the place their peak is. I believe Deandre is no less than a few years from that,” Cronin stated.

For his half, Ayton stated he needs to alter the narrative.

“I’m in a company that desires me, and desires me to succeed. So there’s much more ardour if you really feel that mentally, you’ve seen it bodily as properly,” he stated. “So there might be much more grit and much more domination this yr.”


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