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#pounditFriday, June 14, 2024

Unflattering report surfaces about Deandre Ayton’s time with Blazers

Deandre Ayton in his Blazers uniform

Nov 21, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Portland Trail Blazers center Deandre Ayton (2) reacts against the Phoenix Suns during the second half at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

It may be a new team, but it is apparently the same old Deandre Ayton.

Jason Quick of The Athletic shared an unflattering report about the Portland Trail Blazers big Ayton on Friday. Quick wrote that Ayton’s first months in Portland were “defined by tardiness and tantrums.” While he acknowledged that Ayton’s play has picked up over the last month, Quick compared Ayton to former Portland center Hassan Whiteside, a player with decent numbers but inconsistent effort and a generally low impact on the team.

The ex-No. 1 overall pick Ayton was acquired by the Blazers in the three-way Damian Lillard trade with the Phoenix Suns and the Milwaukee Bucks over the summer. It seems that he was more of a salary-match acquisition with his four-year, $132.9 million contract than a player Portland coveted as a true long-term building block.

Though the Suns were able to make it to the NBA Finals in 2021 with Ayton as their starting center, he never reached his true potential in Phoenix and was plagued by a number of issues during his time there. Ayton, 25, is now averaging 13.8 points and 10.2 rebounds a game this season for the Blazers. But it appears many of those same issues have followed Ayton to Portland (especially when you consider that perhaps his biggest highlight with the Blazers thus far has actually been a lowlight).

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