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#pounditFriday, December 1, 2023

Hall of Fame coach rips Deandre Ayton for elimination game absence

Deandre Ayton during a game

Apr 19, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) against the New Orleans Pelicans during game two of the first round for the 2022 NBA playoffs at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Deandre Ayton is having his toughness questioned by a Hall of Famer.

The Phoenix Suns center Ayton sat out of the team’s elimination loss to the Denver Nuggets on Thursday with a rib injury. Phoenix would end up being shelled 125-100 as Ayton’s backup Jock Landale, a decent energy big off the bench, had to start and got twisted into a pretzel by two-time MVP center Nikola Jokic.

Upon news of Ayton’s absence breaking, former NBA Coach of the Year George Karl ripped the ex-No. 1 overall pick Ayton.

“Weak,” Karl tweeted about Ayton missing the game.

The Suns were also down another starter in Chris Paul, who missed the final four games of the Denver series with a groin issue. The result was a game on Thursday in which the Nuggets led by 18 in the first quarter (and by as many as 32 at one point) to ultimately punch Phoenix’s ticket to Cancun.

We should probably take Karl’s comment here with a grain of salt since Karl rips players these days for just about anything. But it may just be warranted when it comes to Ayton. The 24-year-old big man may have had a legitimate rib injury but lost a lot of credibility with some of his behavior during the Nuggets series.


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