Gustavo Ayon Could Surprise People as Atlanta Hawks Backup Big Man
Towards the end of July, the Milwaukee Bucks waived 28-year-old forward/center Gustavo Ayon. Just three days after being waived, though, the big man from Mexico inked a three-year, $4.5 million deal with the Atlanta Hawks, where he should figure into their rotation.
Ayon was one of three big men that the Hawks signed this summer to help fill out their frontcourt as reserves, joining Elton Brand and Pero Antic. With two years in the NBA under his belts and the ability to play at either the four or the five, Ayon should find himself on the floor a good bit this season.
Ayon’s numbers last season weren’t all that impressive. He spent 13 games with the Bucks after being traded from the Orlando Magic in the J.J. Redick trade. In 55 games played overall, Ayon averaged just 3.7 points and 3.6 rebounds per game on 55.1 percent shooting. However, his lack of production was largely due to lack of opportunity as he played only 13.3 minutes per game.
As a rookie in the 2011-2012 season with the New Orleans Pelicans (then the Hornets), though, Ayon received more of an opportunity and had a solid amount of success. In 54 games he averaged 5.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 20.1 minutes per game on 53.6 percent shooting.
In his rookie season, Ayon was solid on both ends of the floor. Offensively, he rated the 19th best player when in the pick-and-roll as a screener, averaging 1.17 points per possession. Defensively, Ayon allowed just 0.76 points per possession, the 57th best rate in the league.
Ayon won’t be called upon too often playing behind a potential star in Al Horford, but when he does, he could definitely surprise some people. He’s a solid defender with good instincts and could work well with guys like Jeff Teague and Devin Harris in the pick-and-roll. Ayon isn’t going to be the go-to guy on the Hawks, but he could really help solidify their rotation.
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