The Chicago Bulls have recently been in trade rumors surrounding 2018’s former No. 1 overall pick, Deandre Ayton. Per Bleacher Report’s Sean Deveney, Ayton is on Chicago’s list of players of interest, and the Bulls join the Dallas Mavericks, Charlotte Hornets, and Portland Trail Blazers as the top suitors for the 24-year-old, with each team looking to complement their star guards with a top center in the league.
Ayton had extremely high expectations coming out of Arizona, as his 7-foot frame and excellent offensive skills drew comparisons to this year’s MVP, Joel Embiid. While Ayton has shown plenty of promise through his first five seasons, he has not yet reached the high expectations with which he came into the league. However, NBA franchises realize the fact that he may have been in a poor situation in Phoenix and still has the tools to develop into a star, which makes him one of the most coveted centers in the league.
Deandre Ayton is a solid NBA player and has been a welcome addition to the Suns’ offense through his excellent touch around the rim and tremendous offensive rebounding ability. Ayton averaged 2.6 offensive rebounds per game this year, good for 15th in the league among qualified players. This was even a step down from his career average of 3 per game, showing his strength in cleaning the offensive glass. Ayton thrives near the basket, and is often a putback dunk threat:
He has been able to do this while being solid on the defensive end as well. He has historically put up low block and steals numbers, but he is still a good rim protector, certainly better than the ones that the Chicago Bulls have on the roster. With these factors in mind, it is clear to see why Ayton has piqued the interest of the Bulls’ front office.
The Chicago Bulls have been mentioned in trade talks for Deandre Ayton, but some doubt remains as to whether he’d be a good fit.
Now comes Ayton’s negatives. One of the main issues with the 24-year-old is that there have been concerns surrounding his attitude. There have been concerns about his presence in the locker room as well as on the court, which has led to rumors as to why he did not receive the rookie max contract. Considering the fact that the Chicago Bulls had locker room issues even during halftime of a game, they should not be bringing in a player that may lower their team chemistry and negatively impact morale.
Additionally, Ayton’s play style may not be conducive to the way the Bulls want to run their game. The key here is that the 7-footer is not at all a three-point shooter, which may not be the best addition for a team that made the least three-pointers this past season. Ayton has taken 80 threes in 303 career games, which roughly translates to one three every four games. He is poor on the perimeter defensively, too, as he has had notable struggles against teams that play a five out. Ayton was exposed in last year’s playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks, where he consistently got burned outside the paint.
Here, Ayton was foiled by the Mavs’ small ball lineup, which he could continue to fail against in the future. The asking price for the big man right now is likely more than the Chicago Bulls should be paying for a player that does not significantly move the needle. This is even true when considering the two players that he has been rumored to be traded for, both of whom would be a steal for Phoenix.