It wasn’t surprising when the Phoenix Suns traded Deandre Ayton to polish off an offseason that was a near complete retooling of their supporting cast around Kevin Durant and Devin Booker. Quite frankly, considering how much Ayton was struggling in his current role with the Suns, it was probably a move that made sense for both sides.
Ayton got his fresh start with the Portland Trail Blazers and the Suns added a couple of rotation contributors along with a new starting center in Jusuf Nurkic. As Ayton faced his old team for the first time since the offseason trade, it wasn’t surprising that Booker was asked about it. What was surprising was his response.
When asked about Ayton and one of the best performances of the season in which he finished with 18 points, eight rebounds, and four assists on 64 percent shooting from the field, Booker wasn’t all that praising. It seemed as if Booker took a jab at his former teammate.
Maybe I’m reading too much into the comment, but you can be the judge yourself. Watch this clip and tell me Booker wasn’t taking a shot at his former teammate.
Deandre Ayton has struggled with the Portland Trail Blazers
It was well-documented how much the Suns and Ayton clashed toward the end of his tenure with the team (largely due to his inconsistency). A trade was something that was probably done a year too late. That's part of the reason why it wasn't all that surprising when it actually transpired.
Even though Ayton needed a fresh start, it hasn't exactly gone as planned through the first month of the season.
Through 14 games played so far this season, Ayton is averaging a career-low 13 points and 11 rebounds on 57 percent shooting from the field. Ayton has struggled with his consistency once again this season and has found just how difficult it is to play without a star as talented as Booker next to him.
The hope is that Ayton will be able to find his footing with the Blazers soon. Portland is such a young team and is only going to get better over the course of the season. That could very well end up being the case with Ayton too. But that's far from a guarantee.
Ayton is clearly talented but his slow start to the season is somewhat troubling. The hope is that he can turn things around. Still at jsut 25 years old, you can't blame the Blazers for banking on that.