HomeBasketball TodayDeandre Ayton silences critics with dominant play during challenging season

Deandre Ayton silences critics with dominant play during challenging season

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So far in March, Ayton is averaging 29 points and 16.8 rebounds.

There is no doubt that it has been a tumultuous season for Portland Trail Blazers star Deandre Ayton, but he’s recently turned it on in a nice stretch of outings that has showed why he was drafted with the No. 1 overall pick in 2018. While there is still the question on consistency, his motivations are clear with shutting out the haters and even said he does “thank them” according to Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian and Oregon Live.

“It’s making me approach this game the right way and carry the PDX on my back all the way,” Ayton said. “So, I thank them. I’m wearing the cape all the way.”

So far in the month of March, Ayton has averaged 29 points and 16.8 rebounds per game with the past two games eclipsing the 30-point park. He said that he’s “more dominant” and that he’s “trying to do everything” at the moment for the Blazers.

“I’m honestly going into these games, I’m trying to do everything,” Ayton said. “Not only do my requirements, my role for this team, but do a lot more and that’s where I’m at. I’m more dominant. People like to laugh at it, but it’s the truth.”

This is a much different player than it has been most of the season where scoring in single-digits was not out of the ordinary. He was traded to Portland from his original team in the Phoenix Suns as it was a part of the deal that sent Damian Lillard from the Blazers to the Milwaukee Bucks.

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Ayton says his game and Blazers are “flowing”

Portland Trail Blazers center Deandre Ayton (2) shoots a three-point shot over New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) in the third quarter at Moda Center.
Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

While Ayton was searching for a fresh start, his stint with Portland has been a up-and-down rollercoaster. However, “everything is flowing” in his eyes as on the season, he’s averaging 15.6 points and 11.1 rebounds while shooting 57.6 percent from the field.

“Everything is flowing,” Ayton said. “We have this little language going with our body language, eye contact and things like that where we know what the defense is giving us. It’s like music, just good chemistry going.”

His uptick in performance has caught the eye of Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups who has praised Ayton for being “unlocked” during his first season with the team. He would go on to say that the University of Arizona product is “a monster” and has been a “super efficient” player at 25-years old.

“I think we’ve unlocked him and we’re getting the best version of him offensively, for sure,” Blazers coach Chauncey Billups told reporters. “He’s been a monster, he’s been a monster on that glass. He’s just been all over the place. Super, super efficient obviously. So, he’s been awesome. And I think our guys are just kind of following his lead. He’s given us so much.”

The goal is simple for Ayton which is no doubt to get scoffed at because of his current situation. At the end of the day, he wants to be a “winner in this league.”

“I’m trying to be a winner in this league,” Ayton said. “I’m trying to be known as that guy. If you’re around me, you’re going to learn how to win.”

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Portland is currently 19-47 on the season, putting them 14th in the Western Conference. Their next game is Saturday as they face the New Orleans Pelicans.

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About the Author

Zachary Weinberger joined ClutchPoints in October 2023 as a Miami Heat reporter as well as an Associate Editor. He graduated from Florida Atlantic University in 2022 after covering the school’s athletic programs since his freshman year at the FAU University Press, where he was a Sports Editor and Editor-in-Chief. He then covered FAU Sports for The Palm Beach Post.

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