Deandre Ayton understands more than anyone just how hard it is to guard Giannis.
Throughout the NBA Finals, Giannis Antetokounmpo was simply sensational. In Game 6, Giannis scored 50 points in a closeout game that ultimately won his team the championship. This performance was good enough to win him Finals MVP and moving forward, Giannis' legacy will forever be cemented in NBA history.
Unfortunately, these performances all came at the expense of Phoenix Suns breakout star Deandre Ayton, who visibly struggled to guard Giannis throughout the series. Despite the struggles, Ayton recently told reporters that he learned a lot throughout the series and that guarding Giannis was something that will help develop his game for years to come. In fact, the Suns player even described the matchup as fun.
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“I mean, it was fun. Just like any other matchup that I faced. I think I seen—this is the most time I’ve ever seen Giannis, but, yeah, man, it was fun. I love competing, I love the challenges, man, but I just wish I could win. But at the same time, it was fun, I learned a lot. Just with consistency when it comes to this thing called competing, you can’t really have any mishaps at this high level," Ayton said. “I tip my hat off to Milwaukee, because everybody that checked in, even if they didn’t check in, they wanted to die on that court. And that’s what I felt. That’s what it takes. Everybody got to give it their all when it comes to this, especially when it’s last game.”
While Ayton struggled to start his career, he has truly come into his own over the past year, and as of next season, he will be one of the best big men to watch out for. This Suns roster is still extremely young and they have plenty of time to figure things out.