Think you’ve seen the last of the Dusan Ristic-Deandre Ayton frontcourt?
#Arizona C Dusan Ristic is playing with the #Suns summer league team, #UVA F Isaiah Wilkins with the #Rockets and #Vanderbilt F Jeff Roberson with the #Warriors, agent @ChrisPatrickJr has informed me.— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) June 23, 2018
Of course, the Suns chose Ayton with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft on Thursday.
Ayton and Ristic, two 7-footers, had trouble meshing early in their lone season as teammates, but jelled as the year went on.
Ristic averaged career-highs in points (12.2) and rebounds (6.9), while Ayton tallied 20. 1 points and 11.6 rebounds as the Pac-12 Player of the Year.
The duo was dangerous offensively, but an awkward pairing defensively as Ristic’s presence in the paint forced Ayton to spend most of his time guarding smaller power forwards on the perimeter.
A small, but athletic, Buffalo team exploited that and ousted Arizona in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats finished 83rd in the country in defensive efficiency, per KenPom.
The Suns said they see Ayton as a center, so it will be interesting to see how much they use him alongside Ristic at Summer League, if at all.
If Ristic plays well enough, he might be able to earn a training camp invite. Even if he doesn’t make the Suns’ roster, the Serbian should find plenty of suitors overseas.
Ristic worked out for the Suns on June 12. Their first Summer League game is Friday, July 6 at 6:30 p.m. PT in Las Vegas.