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Deandre Ayton named NBA Player of the Week

deandre-ayton-nba-player-of-week-award-arizona-wildcats-in-pros Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Deandre Ayton is playing some of the best basketball of his career of late, and on Monday he was rewarded with NBA Player of the Week honors.

The Phoenix Suns center and former Arizona Wildcats All-American averaged 23.7 points, 16 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game over three games this past week. Ayton also shot an impressive 67.3% from the floor. Phoenix went 3-0 on the week.

This is the first Player of the Week award of Ayton’s young career. He shared the award with Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Ayton opened the week with a 15-point, 14-rebound outing against the Los Angeles Lakers and followed it up with a 28-point, 12-rebound performance against the Detroit Pistons. Ayton then dropped 29 points and 21 rebounds on the Utah Jazz for his third-career 20-20 game.

Ayton has recorded double-doubles in five consecutive games after just three double-doubles in his first 12 outings of the season.

The 6-11 center is also getting involved distributing the ball. In a Nov. 18 loss to Utah, he nearly recorded a triple-double, providing eight assists on top of 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Ayton has also cut back on turnovers, allowing only two total in the last four games compared to 10 in his prior four outings.

Another sign of encouragement: Ayton set season-highs in free throw attempts this past week, getting to the stripe seven times against Detroit and nine times against Utah.

His confidence is manifesting in several ways.

Lauri Markkanen got caught up in Ayton’s assertive ways Saturday night, leading to some Wildcat on Wildcat crime.