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Sunday Funday: Can the Suns recreate any pick-and-roll magic with Deandre Ayton?

He’s the most athletic center since Amar’e in the Valley of the Sun. Can he be as exciting?

2018 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

As we talk more and more about the potential of the killer pick-and-roll tandem of Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton next year with the young Phoenix Suns, let’s take a walk down memory lane to watch some of the best Suns tandems in recent years.

But before that, let’s see the best of recent Suns teams.

Booker, T.J. to Tyson Chandler

Look, it’s slim pickings lately. None of Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight or... well any of the point guard journeymen ‘round these parts have been good at the pick-and-roll. And frankly, none of Alex Len, Marquese Chriss or Dragan Bender have been good as the roll man.

However, there are... tiny inklings of hope. We’ve seen Devin Booker and even T.J. Warren throw some nice lobs for Tyson Chandler when they share the court with the veteran big man.

Here’s a highlight reel of all 74 of Chandler’s dunks in the 2016-17 season, when he was still kind of spry. Notice all the lobs from Warren.

And here’s Chandler’s “top 10” plays of last season, mostly on lob assists from Booker. Doesn’t quite have the springs anymore (only 65 dunks all season in 46 games), but still good at dunking on the high catch/tip and finish.

In his prime, Tyson Chandler used to be among the league leaders in dunks per year. When you can sky, catch and finish, there’s no stopping it without a dunk or a foul.

Not sure Ayton can do that? See here.

Now, Ayton played out of position at power forward all last year with Dusan Ristic in the middle for an Arizona team that had no good passing guards.

At minimum, Ayton will catch and dunk on lobs, grab and finish in traffic and trail fast breaks for flying slams. That’s going to be a lot of his offense in year one. Add in a couple midrange shots, post-ups and a half-dozen free throw attempts, and you’ve got a guy who will bully his way to 13-16 points per night.

But will that be exciting enough to base an entire “Time to Rise” campaign on?

Let’s see the last two Phoenix Suns pick-and-roll tandems that scared the league.

Goran Dragic and Channing Frye (one season, 2013-14)

They only played together for one season, and it happened to be the best season the Suns had since Steve and STAT eight years ago.

Here’s BballBreakdown explaining the Suns’ offense that year.

The Dragic/Frye tandem had the league’s best points-per-play on pick-and-roll (in their case, more of a pick-and-pop) in the 2013-14 season. Neither Frye nor Dragic have been able to recreate that magic with anyone else since they parted ways after that season.

Here’s just highlights on Dragic and Frye.

Of course, I don’t see Ayton ever playing the Frye role, and nor should he. I don’t want to see Ayton fading away from the basket at any time unless it’s an occasional designed play and he’s making 38% or better on those shots. Otherwise, he should always be rolling.

But I just wanted to point out this duo, which were by far the best in recent years for the Suns on the pick-and-anything.

Now this...

Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire (six seasons, 2004-2010)

Just doesn’t get better than this.

The Suns clearly don’t have anyone like Nash on their roster. So, no, there won’t be any magic like Nash to Stoudemire.

But hey, we can dream right?

Happy Sunday!

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