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Should the Suns consider Ayton at power forward?

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The GM mentioned it. The player himself endorsed it. What will actually happen with Deandre Ayton this season?

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Phoenix Suns Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

During an interview on the Phoenix Suns’ podcast ‘The Outlet’, Suns general manager James Jones suggested that Center DeAndre Ayton could play power forward this year.

The quote came up when the host of the podcast, Lindsey Smith, asked the general manager about the power forward position and if he felt about them. Here’s his quote:

If you want to watch the podcast, you can go here, if you want to read Dave King go more in-depth about the interview, go here. At his fundraiser Monday night supporting victims of Hurricane Dorian, he was asked about the idea.

“I heard the word! That’s college back all over again,” he said. “That’s my born-and-raised position is the power forward.”

Everyone was there that night for Ayton’s fundraiser to give some relief to the devastated Bahamas.

From the videos, it appears Ayton has no problem with the idea of sliding to power forward. He appears more focused on improving himself rather than where he’ll play on the court. That being said, it’s quite a stretch to take these quotes and say the Suns plan to start Ayton at power forward. Most likely if he’s playing the four, it’s for short minutes and is sparingly used. But it’s the offseason so let’s have some fun and go through this scenario.

Jones already answers the first question in this scenario as Baynes will play the five while Ayton is at the four. I really like this since Baynes is a very energetic player who’s ready to take tough fouls and plays hard nose basketball. Baynes can hold his hold defensively so that’ll make up the offensive inefficiencies he has.

For Ayton, playing at the four means he’s gonna be tested pretty much every game, especially in his division. Lakers have Anthony Davis, Kings have Marvin Bagley III, Clippers have either Kawhi Leonard or Paul George there since they both can’t play the three and of course, the Warriors have Draymond Green. This doesn’t include the matchups against SpursLaMarcus Aldridge or Sixers’ Tobias Harris or Al Horford. But with this lineup, the Suns will be able to get their best big man on the opponent’s best big man, instead of leaving Saric on them and creating a weak matchup for Phoenix.

This won’t add any more spacing as Baynes isn’t a three point shooter but it really doesn’t take that spacing away either. Regardless of the lineup, the Suns will have two big men that won’t take that many shots, especially from the three point line, unless they play small ball. That said, Ayton has said he wants to “shoot that three ball” more this year and has spent the offseason improving his cardio to run and push the ball more. Perhaps he’ll be able to get out and make some threes.

This might go to help Ayton as he could grow into what Anthony Davis became under new head coach Monty Williams’ stead in New Orleans. Davis is a 7 foot beast but he doesn’t enjoy playing center as much as power forward. While he’s willing to do it, Davis prefers to dominate the power forward than take on another center in the paint. If Ayton can grow like Davis, that’ll make this a massive success.

This is quite the stretch, especially since we haven’t seen anything from Williams about the new offense. However, in a league where Lebron James left Cleveland twice, Russell Westbrook left OKC and the Nets are the most popular team in New York, anything is possible.