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Suns’ DeAndre Ayton Not Worried About Being Overshadowed by Luka Doncic

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Phoenix Suns rookie big man, and #1 overall pick DeAndre Ayton isn’t worried about being overshadowed by the sensational play of Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic.

Doncic, who seems to be the clear cut favorite to win Rookie of the Year honors, is taking the spotlight among all rookies this season.

Ayton isn’t concerned.

“I don’t care. That’s on them,” Ayton said, according to The Athletic.’s Michael Lee,

“The only thing for me, I want to win. This is an organization where we can make a lot of history and we have hungry fans and that’s the only thing on my mind. The only thing for me is to be consistent as a rookie, to keep playing hard, keep being coachable and just listen.”

Ayton is averaging 16.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game this season.

“We all have different paths,” said Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov.

“We all live our own lives. It’s a good story for media and they all compare. In 20 years, it’s fair to draw the lines and see where we are, what we achieve. Maybe we have two Hall of Fame players. And that’s a pretty good class.”

Detroit Pistons

Pistons’ Dwane Casey Planning Flexibility with Blake Griffin, Thon Maker

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Detroit Pistons’ head coach Dwane Casey has a creative approach in mind when he utilizes Blake Griffin and Thon Maker this upcoming season.

While the Pistons don’t have a true center outside of Andre Drummond, Casey sees opportunities to get creative with his lineups, depending on the situation at hand.

“I see it being very situational,” Casey said, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com.

“The other guy we haven’t mentioned, we have played Blake at the five. Not good numbers off of that, so I don’t anticipate that but there are scenarios in the game, last two minutes of the game, where Blake could play the five. Looking for really a bump out of Thon, playing him at four/five, whatever it is, but a lot of nights if you look at the league, the rosters have gotten smaller and the traditional five has kind of gone the way of the dinosaur. The flexibility we have with Thon, with Markieff having the possibility of playing there, is really important.”

With Drummond focusing on developing his offense this offseason, the Pistons may lack some defense at the rim, and in the paint.

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Eastern Conference

Heat’s Bam Adebayo Discusses Team Picking Up Option

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Bam Adebayo

The Miami Heat recently picked up the fourth-year option on the contract of center Bam Adebayo, who is thrilled to see further commitment from the team.

Adebayo, the Heat’s starter at center, will make $3.5 million this season, and is now guaranteed $5.1 million in the 2020-2021 season.

“It’s definitely a confidence builder,” Adebayo said, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “It’s one of those things that a lot of guys don’t get to see, but I’m glad it happened to me. So we’re going to keep this thing going and see if we can win some more games.”

Adebayo collected 8.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists last season for Miami.

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Eastern Conference

Knicks’ Dennis Smith Jr. Out to Prove Something this Season

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While the New York Knicks made headlines as they whiffed on several big name free agents this summer, one of their promising young players believes that a big year is on the horizon.

Knicks’ guard Dennis Smith Jr., who was acquired from the Dallas Mavericks via trade, is looking to make a splash in his first full season with the Knicks.

“It’s just been relentless work. I feel like I’ve got something to prove,” Smith Jr. said, according to The New York Daily News’ Kristian Wingfield.

“I’ve got a chip on my shoulder still, but I’ve just been working. I try to attack each day and look at it as if I didn’t leave anything on the table. I got the most out of my day. … I’m gonna come in, bring that into training camp and be a leader, lead by example, earn my respect from these guys and then carry that into the season.”

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