Deandre Ayton Can’t Watch NBA Games. It’s About Bad Habits.

Some of my friends that are still back home down there, they have their watch parties. Everybody gets together and watches some of the games during work. They send you pictures of newspapers, so they’re definitely tuned in, for sure, because I represent the Bahamas everywhere I go.

How does this playoff run mentally compare to last year’s run for you?

It’s a lot more different. At first, last year, I was building confidence as we got further and further in the playoffs and going to the finals. But this, confidence isn’t a thing no more. That’s out the window. I’ve seen it all. I know what I can do.

How much, if any, extra motivation do you have going up against Luka Doncic, given that you were both drafted in the same class and that you’re constantly being compared to him?

There’s not motivation. I’m happy for the man, regardless of wherever it takes us, because I take pride in being a part of this class and us being the best draft class of all time. Obviously, through the competing, we’re trying to beat each other up, but at the end of the day I’m never motivated by somebody else’s success.

You became a father last year. What has fatherhood taught you about yourself?

I definitely stopped a lot of bad habits early.

Like what?

Like the way I eat. The way I sleep at night. Just being mindful of time. I’m very, very cautious about time and knowing time and place, especially with a child. And just representing myself the best way I can, on and off the court.

Is your son going to play ball like you?

Oh, yes! Once he sees a ball, he’s looking for his hoop, like: “Where’s the hoop? Where’s the hoop? I’m ready.” Then you pass it to him. I say: “Go to alley oop. Go to alley oop.” And he catches it and dunks it at 1 year old.

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