Phoenix Suns secured a spot in the 2021 NBA Finals after defeating the Los Angeles Clippers in six games. In his third season, DeAndre Ayton has played a crucial role in this deep playoff run. In a post-game press conference, the 22-year-old spoke about what it means for him to play for the Suns and make the NBA Finals.
While it wasn’t long for Ayton, the city of Phoenix had to wait for 28 years to make another NBA Finals appearance. As a fact, Phoenix had a playoff drought that lasted for more than a decade. Ayton, born in the Bahamas, played two years of high school basketball in San Diego before committing to the University of Arizona. In a way, playing in the Finals for the Suns is living the dream for Ayton.
“Being a Phoenix Sun, I’ll say, is amazing, man. Cause you know what a friend and a city you got behind in a way. First of all, the organization and the teammates – they all show the same love. They all feel like family. But when the city got you, yeah, I’ve been feeling that all year. When a city got you, that’s when you are really locked in. You play for more than just your family, and the organization, and your teammates. You playing for the fans; you are putting on a show for them.
Just being a Phoenix Sun, I’ve been here since I was 16. I’ve seen everything. I’ve seen how the organization was. I’ve seen Book when he first got to Phoenix; I was in 11th grade. Just being here for high school, college & now the NBA. Making some noise and bringing some light to Phoenix, it means a lot. I’m glad to be a Phoenix Sun. This type of moments right here, like Book, said being legendary, this is right here. This is one step.”DeAndre Ayton on what it means to play for the Suns to him
Ayton is averaging 16.2 points and 11.7 rebounds on just 10.6 attempts per game in the playoffs. Ayton proved great diversity and versatility in his skill-set against three different opponents outside of numbers and stats. In each series, Ayton was met with new tasks. It’s safe to say he successfully conquered all obstacles in front of him.
In the Finals, the Suns will face the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals, which is currently being played between the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks. Considering that both teams’ respective stars suffered injuries, Ayton and his Suns might win the NBA Championship this season.