Ayton took a huge leap this season, especially after the All-Star break. Ayton is a strong paint protector for the Suns and an efficient scorer who sets screens and rolls hard to the rim. Ayton attributes Chris Paul to helping him make the leap. But it was Monty Williams' years of hard work (and even Igor Kokoskov) that helped him achieve that leap. This version of Ayton is essential to Phoenix's success in the title race.
James Wiseman was two things when the Warriors chose him No. 2: A very athletic freak. Both of these qualities were displayed during his rookie season.
Steve Kerr believes Wiseman could follow Ayton's career path, as the coach stated on 95.7 The Game's “Damon, Ratto & Kolsky” show (hat tip Drew Shiller from NBC Sports Bay Area).
"Deandre Ayton was the most fascinating thing about the NBA Finals. I text James and talk to him. Ayton's achievements are inspiring to me. James could follow the same path, I believe.
"[The Suns] really simplified his game. He was a bit scattered a few years back. Although you could see how gifted he was, it was hard to know what his true talent was. They have figured it out. "I'm spending a lot of time watching Ayton and thinking about James. I want to simplify the game and make him more effective for next year."
Ayton took three years to make the leap. Ayton's leap took three years. The Warriors have Klay Thompson back next season, and they are now in win-now mode as Stephen Curry and DraymondGreen are at the end of their primes. Wiseman's name is mentioned in trade rumors. He was traded for a veteran who can step in immediately and help.
Kerr will likely use the Ayton playbook to help Wiseman if he stays in Golden State for next season. We'll then see if Wiseman can make the leap that the Warriors require.