UPDATE: Ayton returned to the starting lineup Tuesday night vs. the Clippers and wasn’t held back at all. He looked very capable in his 24 minutes on the court, scoring 18 points with 12 rebounds and three assists for 40 DraftKings fantasy points. At $7,400 he actually returned some value, so if you had him at 2.6% ownership last night, well, nice call. It most likely helped you win some money with the leverage.
Ayton did all this in a tough matchup vs. L.A. as well, though Booker (forearm) was ruled out again. I think when Book comes back, Ayton will still be able to reach this type of ceiling, plus the matchups will get softer than the Clips. Ayton is safe to roll out in all formats now, no need to overthink.
Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton’s 25-game suspension is officially over and he’s expected to get back into the lineup Tuesday night vs. the Los Angeles Clippers. Ayton was serving a ban due to a violation of the NBA’s PED policy. It also sounds like he’s ready to get back into action for a surprising Suns team that is 11-15 and 1.0 game off of the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. Some of Ayton’s teammates commented on his return.
"Godspeed man. He's been working his ass off while he's been out." #Suns Kelly Oubre Jr. and Frank Kaminsky on the return of Deandre Ayton from a 25-game suspension tomorrow at #ClipperNation.— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) December 16, 2019
"He's got a lot of frustration and energy pent up that I know he's ready to let go." pic.twitter.com/I5eiILWQCh
So we don’t have a general idea of how many minutes Ayton is expected to play or if he’ll jump right back into the starting lineup. My guess is he does start and we see Frank Kaminsky head back to the bench with Dario Saric at PF. Devin Booker (forearm) was ruled out last night and has missed two games, so it’s unclear if he’ll be back. If Booker returns, the Suns will have a relatively healthy rotation for the first time in a while. Or at least the bulk of their core players. Ayton’s return hurts Kaminsky and Saric’s value. If you have Ayton, unless he’s under some type of restriction, I think it’s safe to roll him out in season-long fantasy basketball. No need to be cautious, this wasn’t an injury related absence.