Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft, was suspended for 25 games earlier this season after the league announced he tested positive for a diuretic, violating the anti-drug policy.

A lot has changed since the 21-year-old was sidelined, and Suns head coach Monty Williams explained how he could reintegrate the 6-foot-11 Bahamian into the fold.

“Deandre’s a huge part of our program. When he gets back into the fold, we’re going to throw him right back into the fire. He’s been in the gym a ton working on his game, learning plays…” Williams explained, per Matt Petersen of

“We’re not only going to welcome him back with open arms, but we’re going to throw him back into the fray.”

Williams is not being cautious by “throwing him back into the fray” despite the success of Ayton’s interim replacements in centers Aron Baynes (who missed Phoenix’s win over the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday) and Frank Kaminsky.

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Ayton can be a dominant force down low on offense for the Suns and Phoenix needs another threat other than Devin Booker on that side of the court. Ayton should be back in nearly two weeks.

Last season, the All-Rookie first team center averaged 16.3 points and 10.3 rebounds, shooting 58.5 percent from the field in his first year.

They have slipped a bit, but the Suns are in a spot to contend for the playoffs in the Western Conference this season, thanks to the play of Booker, Ricky Rubio and Kelly Oubre. Hopefully, with Ayton returning soon, Williams will have another piece to push Phoenix in the right direction.