Better tune in to the game! The Phoenix Suns will start Deandre Ayton next to Aron Baynes in the starting lineup tonight.
This is just Deandre Ayton’s fifth game of the season. He missed 25 due to suspension and another five from an ankle issue. Tonight’s start will be his 3rd of the season but the first of his career as a power forward next to another big man.
We first saw a Baynes/Ayton pairing on Wednesday evening. In the face of the Lakers playing a pair of 7-footers all game (Anthony Davis, JaVale McGee, Dwight Howard), often with two at a time, the Suns were getting killed on the boards. So Monty Williams experimented with Baynes and Ayton together for two different stints, mid-first quarter and mid-third quarter. The second stint was more successful than the first, with a +1 in about three minutes. Other than those stints, Baynes and Ayton had alternated playing time in the 48 minutes of each game both had been available.
- In five games, Ayton is averaging 14.5 points, 12.3 rebounds (including 4.5 offensive) and 1.5 blocks per game.
- In 25 games, Aron Baynes is averaging 12.6 points (37% on 3.9 threes per game), 5.6 rebounds and 0.6 blocks per game.
Today, Suns head coach Monty Williams told me before tonight’s game that he wants to see more of that lineup and, well, here we go.
Lineup: Baynes — Ayton — Kelly Oubre Jr. — Devin Booker — Ricky Rubio.
Dario Saric will move into the second unit. Also, Ricky Rubio is good to go.
On the other side, the Knicks are going fairly small in the starting lineup, with Taj Gibson in the middle flanked by Marcus Morris and Julius Randle.