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Suns’ Deandre Ayton is thinking bigger than Rookie of the Year

Suns, Deandre Ayton

Phoenix Suns rookie center Deandre Ayton is having a great season and will be a top candidate for Rookie of the Year, even though Dallas Mavericks phenom Luka Doncic is currently the clear favorite.

But Ayton isn’t worried about the award. There is more on his mind than collecting personal awards. He wants to lead the culture change in Phoenix, per Ti Windisch of The Step Back:

“Right now I think there’s bigger things than Rookie of the Year for me,” Ayton said in a recent phone interview with The Step Back. “This is a franchise that needs a winning culture, and I think I have bigger things ahead other than a Rookie of the Year. I’m trying to change a whole city around.”

The Suns rookie admits he did not expect to win right away, but he wants to grow and become the best player he can be for the franchise. He is off to a good start, averaging a double-double per game at 16.5 points and 10.5 rebounds, which still is not good enough for Ayton’s taste:

“[It’s] not even close to what I want to do. I’m supposed to be averaging 25 [points] and 12, or 15 [rebounds].”

A player with these goals could be just what the Suns need to turn their franchise around. According to Windisch, Ayton is very genuine when he says all of these things.

And whether he wants it or not, he will be in the conversation for Rookie of the Year. He has some stiff competition in the form of Doncic, but Ayton has been impressive in his own right.

At 20 years old, Ayton could become the Suns’ next franchise player if he is serious about turning Phoenix into a winning culture. The Suns will need a major turnaround, as they currently have a record of 11-47 and have lost 14 games in a row.