Deandre Ayton in “play form” at start of Suns training camp
Booker opens up about Tokyo Olympics, loses NBA Finals – and rests
Devin Booker talks about losing the NBA Finals, playing for the United States and resting after a long flight to Tokyo after beating Iran in the preliminary round.
American basketball, Republic of Arizona
Devin Booker stays out of training camp under NBA health and safety protocols – and keeps in touch with his Phoenix Suns.
“When I heard the news I was like, okay that’s how we start, but knowing his presence, knowing the coach (Monty Williams) still has him on Zoom,” he said. Suns great Deandre Ayton said Wednesday. “The book never fails, for real, because we know that once it gets to this building, we better be ready. Period. We have to be ready because it’s going to be ready. . He worked.”
When contacting Booker, Ayton said the two-time All-Star and Olympic gold medalist lifted weights from home or “touched the ball, was doing something.”
Booker missed the first two days of camp, but is expected to return during camp as the Suns play their first preseason game on Oct. 4 in Sacramento.
“As a team we have to be ready because he’s going to be ready,” Ayton added.
Williams admitted it’s different not having Booker during camp, saying he’s the “face of the franchise” and the prolific goalscorer is one of the reasons he took the post-season job. 2018-19 when the Suns won just 19 games under Igor Kokoskov.
“We’ve been in communication,” Williams said. “He understands what we’re doing. The guys know his situation. I’m sure he will come back here and fit in perfectly.”
Williams has also admitted that he misses having the in-person conversations with Booker that he usually has with players after practice.
“I haven’t had that interaction with him,” Williams said. “You miss that part, but he’ll be here soon enough.”
“Form of the game from day 1”
Ayton was on vacation in the Bahamas after reaching the NBA Finals when a text from Williams changed the whole dynamic of the return trip.
“I’m like, eh,” Ayton said. “I couldn’t believe it, but I knew the job at hand.”
Williams’ “task” for Ayton was to come to training camp in good shape.
Ayton said he ran a lot on the beach, played a ton of basketball and came to camp ready to go as his head coach demanded.
“I just told him from day one, he has to be in good shape from day one,” said Williams. “And he’s up to it. His body is superb. His cardio is at an unreal level.”
However, Williams said he wanted to pay attention to Ayton’s minutes during the preseason, as the Suns have four preseason games before opening the 2021-22 season on October 20 against the Denver Nuggets at the Footprint. Center.
Williams also said Ayton was able to grasp the terminology to show he’s on a different level when it comes to his status in the Suns’ schedule.
“He leads the conversations, he talks about the things that matter rather than guessing or thinking,” Williams said. “He takes the job seriously. He’s always done it, but now he understands the importance of it. The details that make us a very good team, an All-Star caliber player. He came with a great concentration. “
Entering his fourth season after a draw in Arizona, Ayton said he felt “way ahead” at camp.
“Every game, every exercise,” Ayton said. “Knowing what’s next. Knowing how to pay attention to detail. Knowing how to provide constructive criticism. Just making sure everyone has a feel for how we’re doing things here to make sure our team is improving. . “
The first overall pick in the 2018 draft now tells teammates what to do instead of the other way around.
“Hey listen, you’ve got that screen set, man,” Ayton said with a smile. “Set that screen, but it feels good. You can tell my teammates and coaches, they trust me because I have actually worked and have proven to them that they can trust me with certain playing skills and some decisions I make on the floor. ”
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