Bahamian big man with the Phoenix Suns DeAndre Ayton remains out of action in the National Basketball Association (NBA), sitting out with what is being termed a non-COVID illness.
Ayton, who is having another strong season for the Suns, missed a couple of games over the weekend, but the Suns were able to win both games and are on a three-game winning streak. At the moment, his status is unclear for the Suns’ next game – on their home floor at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona, tonight. The Suns will host Kai Jones and the Charlotte Hornets, but Jones
remains with the Hornets’ NBA G League team – the Greensboro Swarm where he is averaging 19 points and 9.4 rebounds per game.
As for Ayton, he is just a smidgen under what would be his fifth straight season averaging a double-double for the Suns. The Bahamian big man is at 17.5 points and 9.9 rebounds per game while shooting 58.3 percent from the floor. It’s his second greatest scoring output of his five-year career, following the 18.2 points he averaged in his second season three years ago.
Ayton isn’t expected to miss significant time. He is listed as day-to-day by the Suns.
Just when all-star point guard Chris Paul returned to the lineup after missing seven games, Ayton went out. Three-time all-star guard Devin Booker remains out with a left groin strain and the Suns have limped to a 24-24 win/loss record this year – tied for seventh in the Western Conference of the NBA. They are nine and a half games behind the Western Conference leading Denver Nuggets.
As for Ayton, his return is expected to be imminent. He has been pretty durable this season, playing in 40 of the Suns’ 48 games.
Ayton, 24, was called upon to play a larger role in the offense in the absence of Booker and Paul and he responded, increasing his production and being more of a team leader on the court. He averaged 18.43 points and 10.5 rebounds per game in 14 games that Booker missed and 16.75 points and 10.25 rebounds in four games without Paul. However, the Suns struggled
collectively as a team, losing six straight at one point, nine out of 10 and 12 out of 14.
They dropped from first in the west to tied for seventh – currently in a play-in spot for the playoffs. Last season, they finished the regular season as the number one seed in the west with a 64-18 record.
Following the game against the Hornets tonight, the Suns will host Luka Dončić and the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday. That game will tip off at 10 p.m. and will be televised nationally on TNT.