Deandre Ayton’s impact as an offensive rebounder cannot fly under the radar any longer. Creating extra possessions for your team is an extremely valuable element to bring to the table, and few have done it better than Deandre Ayton this season for the Phoenix Suns.
Ayton is tied for 5th in the NBA (min. 40 games played) with Rudy Gobert in offensive rebounds per game at 3.4 and sits 12th in the association in total rebounds per game at 10.7.
Total rebounds, in general, aren’t all that important as a counting statistic, but when discussing the second chances he creates with his 3.4 offensive boards per game, you’re talking about making an impact that can change the outcome of the game via second-chance points.
I’ve noticed he turns it up a notch in this regard particularly in the 2nd half of games, generating a ton of second-chance points that can ultimately swing a game in Phoenix’s favor when they need it most.
Chris Paul tends to agree, as he mentions here in the post-game interview after the recent road win in Milwaukee.
Chris Paul gives major love to Deandre Ayton following the Suns big win pic.twitter.com/U3exqcj3Wq— Bally Sports Arizona (@BallySportSAZ) April 20, 2021
This discussion is not entirely based solely on just grabbing offensive rebounds, it’s about analyzing what he does after he grabs them and how he generates points at a high level whether it’s via a putback slam or whipping a pass to the open man for an easy bucket.
His ability to finish nearly everything around the rim (76.7% from 0-3 feet) combined with his unselfishness and underrated passing vision (for a big) gives him an advantage over some of his counterparts at the top of the offensive rebounding food chain.
I put together a montage highlighting what I mean specifically by his ability to shift games crashing the glass when his motor is revving. Commentary is added within the clips for further explanation. Hope you all enjoy this one!
There is not a metric out there that measures “clutch rebounding” but if there was, Ayton would be damn near the top of that list.
Come playoff time, this is the version of Deandre Ayton the Phoenix Suns are going to need. No questions asked or any exceptions to it. In order for them to win a championship, they’ll need his undivided attention, because a fully engaged Ayton is a nightmare for opponents.
The Suns are 10-3 when Deandre grabs 5 or more offensive boards on the season. Below are some of his top performances on the offensive glass this season:
- 2/8/21 vs. CLE: 8 offensive rebounds— WIN
- 4/25/21 vs. BKN: 8 offensive rebounds— LOSS
- 3/28/21 vs. CHA: 7 offensive rebounds— WIN
- 4/7/21 vs. UTH: 7 offensive rebounds— WIN
- 4/17/21 vs. SAN: 7 offensive rebounds— LOSS
- 4/28/21 vs. LAC: 6 offensive rebounds — WIN
- 1/20/21 vs. HOU: 6 offensive rebounds— WIN
- 1/22/21 vs. DEN: 6 offensive rebounds— LOSS
- 2/1/20 vs. DAL: 6 offensive rebounds— WIN
- 1/30/20 vs. DAL: 6 offensive rebounds— WIN
- 12/29/20 vs. NOP: 5 offensive rebounds— WIN
- 2/5/21 vs. DET: 5 offensive rebounds— WIN
- 3/30/21 vs. ATL: 5 offensive rebounds— WIN
The most interesting takeaway for me when browsing this list of games is that 9 of these 13 games have taken place sometime after February, which means the stats are matching the eye test to confirm that we have indeed seen a more active Ayton these past few months.
Let’s hope this trend is a sign of things to come when playoff time arrives because they’re going to need every bit of Ayton to win a playoff series (or three). The good news is, when the lights have shined brightest this year, Deandre has answered the call time and time again.