Deandre Ayton will miss nearly 1/3 of season for violating the NBA’s Anti-Drug policy

The Phoenix Suns began the 2019-20 NBA season by defeating the Sacramento Kings, one of the league’s up-and-coming teams, in a nearly 30 point 124-95 blow out. That was in large part due to the collective effort of the team anchored by second year center and former No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton who finished the game with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks. It was a promising start for the Suns who were one of the worst teams last season.

Then the day after the nice debut, the Suns were hit by the news that their star player was suspended for 25 games because Ayton violated the league’s Anti-Drug policy.

Missing Ayton for the large chunk of the season would be a severe blow to the young Phoenix franchise looking to build and come together as a

“I want to apologize to my family, the entire Suns organization, my teammates, partners, our fans and the Phoenix community. This was an unintentional mistake and unfortunately I put something in my body that I was completely unaware of.” Ayton said in press statement shortly after the NBA’s announcement suspending him. “I do understand the unfortunate impact that this has on so many others, and for that I am deeply sorry. I’m extremely disappointed that I’ve let my team down. I will continue to work with the NBPA to go through arbitration and am hopeful of a positive resolution.”

Ayton is one of the approximately 35 NBA player that have been suspended under the NBA’s Anti-Drug policy.

An Eclipse for the Sun’s 2019-20 Playoff Hopes

While no online betting uk websites had the Suns even sniffing the 2020 NBA Playoffs, there was hope for the team with Devin Booker and Kelly Oubre returning and the team brought in Ricky Rubio, Dario Saric and chose Cam Johnson with the No. 11 overall pick. Now with this major setback to Ayton, the likelihood of the postseason takes an even more severe blow.

No doubt Ayton is taking this hard. As he should says Suns head coach Monty Williams as he trumpeted the Suns togetherness.

“He’s shown a level of contrition that he should show. I’ll find out more about what he can and can’t do as we go forward,” Williams told Doug & Wolf Friday on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “He’ll be around the team. That’s who we are. We’re not a team or an organization that just shuns people when they make mistakes. At the same time, our guys have shown a level of togetherness and unity in any situation, whether it’s a guy messing up a pick-and-roll coverage or blowing a play. All of our guys, Ricky (Rubio) and Devin (Booker) and Aron (Baynes) have shown great leadership since Flagstaff and even before that when Devin had all the guys out in California.”

There is some hope for Ayton and the Suns, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the NBA’s Player’s Association (NBPA) is already getting ready to file an arbitration case so that the suspension is reduced or even rescinded due to the unintentional nature, specifically the unintentional ingestion provision in the CBA.

According to Wojnarowski, the “NBPA is likely to fast-track arbitration process to push for a reduction as soon as possible.” The Phoenix Suns are certainly hoping that the NBPA can present a strong case because missing 25 games is obviously a significant portion of the NBA season and the Phoenix Suns’ prospects rely on Ayton being on the court.

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