For some time now, Chris Paul’s leadership and Devin Booker’s incredible ability to make buckets have been the two key factors that catapulted the Phoenix Suns to the top of the NBA. But what many seem to ignore is the impact Deandre Ayton brings to his team every night. And while there are other promising prospects in the hobby when it comes to Phoenix, like Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson, the number one pick in the 2018 draft seems like the better option behind Paul and Booker.
With his current contract expiring soon and a new one coming, Ayton tried to prove himself worthy of a raise. Below we take a look at why his rookie cards are a great option for collectors.
Ayton is Phoenix’s third star
When picked with the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft, the Suns weren’t the powerhouse they are right now. But after exploding inside the bubble and acquiring the Point God, Phoenix suddenly took the league by surprise and made it all the way to the NBA Finals.
This season, the 6’11” center has averaged 14.4 points on 62% shooting from the field, 10.5 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 1.4 assists in 30.7 minutes on the ground. His massive frame and athleticism also made him the perfect pick and roll partner for Paul as the Suns offense became more diverse with this combination. At the same time, Ayton became a better defender and even extended his coverage towards the three-point line.
When Deandre Ayton does his job early, he’s nearly impossible to watch. pic.twitter.com/WxOpqpFuPV
—David (@theIVpointplay) March 9, 2022
In his third year in the league, Ayton has emerged as a talented player who can anchor the Phoenix defense. And even if he can’t stretch the floor, his overall advantage takes the Suns to another level. This season alone, the center is averaging 16.8 points while effectively hitting 64% of his field goals, 10 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.
But Ayton’s value is more than meets the eye. In the four games Phoenix has played without Paul and Booker recently, the center has scored 19.3 points on 61% shooting from the field while providing quality saves at the other end of the field. During that streak, the Suns went 3-1 with wins over the Portland Trail Blazers, New York Knicks and Orlando Magic and just one loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Deandre Ayton STUDENTS for this slam ✈️pic.twitter.com/kL1Y1OM10L
— Suns Nation (@SunsNationCP) March 9, 2022
All of these numbers show that behind the Point God and an elite scorer in Booker, Ayton is the next guy on the Suns ladder. With the kind of production he brings on offense and defense, he must be the Suns’ third most important player.
The Suns have a good chance of winning it all
At this point, the Suns aren’t just atop the Western Conference. They lead the league with a 53-13 record.
Phoenix is currently at 7.34 SRS, which takes into account average point differential and schedule strength, is first among 30 NBA teams. They are also sixth in points scored per game (113.7), fourth in offense (114), second in defense (106.2) and their rating of +7.9 is first in the league. Those numbers show the Suns should be taken seriously as championship contenders this year.
Suns fans watch fellow fans after Phoenix becomes first to clinch playoff berth pic.twitter.com/sgiYooK3qP
— NBA Memes (@NBAMemes) March 10, 2022
With that kind of momentum pushing them towards the playoffs and with a playoff berth clinched, it’s not hard to imagine Ayton bringing his a-game in the months to come. In the event Phoenix goes the distance and wins it all, the big man’s rookie cards would get a nice boost and collectors should be prepared for that possibility.
The State of Deandre Ayton Rookie Cards in the Market
As things stand, Ayton’s shares in the card market are down in the short term. A three-month chart from Card Ladder confirms this assertion.
In said chart, Ayton’s PSA 10 Prizm Silver rookie card was down 7.9% from $153 to $141. This drop occurred out of 62 confirmed sales on eBay.
All things considered, that’s not a big drop at all. With a population of 1,523 for this particular Silver rookie card from Panini’s Prizm 2018 set, there’s still plenty of room to grow if the right catalyst comes along.
The verdict on Deandre Ayton’s rookie cards
Collectors looking for an underdog guy playing for a serious contender will have limited options on the market. Among them is none other than Suns big man Deandre Ayton.
Taking his impressive frame, improvement at both ends of the court and his contributions to the best team in the NBA, you wouldn’t have to go far to see why his rookie cards can still grow from where they are. are. Of course, that raise will depend on his performance in the playoffs and whether Phoenix can finally do what they failed to do last season – win the championship.
If these two conditions are met, those who invested in Deandre Ayton’s shares when they are down will see their confidence potentially rewarded. Until then, it’s best to buy low and keep an eye on how this big man is performing, especially as he’s due to extend his contract soon.