Deandre Ayton Says Slow Start With Blazers Was Partly Due To Sleeping On Air Mattress

During an interview with NBA reporter Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian, Deandre Ayton said his slow start with the Portland Trail Blazers was partly due to sleeping on an air mattress. 

Deandre Ayton, Blazers, NBA
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The Blazers acquired Ayton from the Phoenix Suns last offseason. 

“My body wasn’t just my body,” Ayton said. “People forget the humane difference of me adjusting to everything. Just being comfortable in waking up. I didn’t have a bed for quite some time. I was on an air mattress. Just trying to figure this out.”

Ayton has appeared in 45 games for the Blazers this season. He’s averaging 15.7 points, 11.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists while shooting 58.1% from the field, 33.3% from beyond the arc and 82.8% from the free-throw line. 

“No matter the outcome of the game, you’re going to see I played my ass off,” Ayton said. “Played hard enough to where I tried. I feel like the whole team was like that as well. We all contributed and I tried my best to keep my energy up for my guys too, so nobody gets deflated.”

Ayton was the first overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft out of Arizona. He has 25 double-doubles this season. 

“I just want people to believe no matter what the game is, no matter how it looks, regardless, no matter the fact, I’m gonna try my best way to make winning plays,” Ayton said. “That’s just it. Whether it’s me scoring, rebounding, blocking shots, cheering on my teammates, getting them going, making plays, just rolling to the rim, not getting the ball, it don’t matter. I’m just trying to show everybody I can do it all.”

The Blazers are 19-48. They are in 14th place in the Western Conference standings. The franchise is in rebuild mode in the post-Damian Lillard era. 

“These are young guys and, playing against good teams, hustle plays and big momentum plays tend to deflate you,” Ayton said. “It’s an emotional game. But having that fire, just that one guy making hard on-ball plays and still going is contagious. And I try to be that guy, also.”

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