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Deandre Ayton Channeling Aggression, Focus on Court

It's been all business for Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton, and that's just fine.

Take it from someone who was reporting in person: The Phoenix Suns Media Day had a different energy to it. 

No, not different in a good way, like 2 Chainz's hit song that dropped a decade ago.

Different as in the same group of fun-loving players who once jammed to NBA YoungBoy's "Nevada" before a game now sat at a podium without that spark to them. 

ESPN's Marc J. Spears likened it to a funeral in his reporting afterwards. 

One of the main storylines that emerged was the body language - and actual language - of center Deandre Ayton, who was put through quite the rumor mill over the summer with his restricted free agency.

Short answers followed an uncomfortable presence at the microphone, as Ayton didn't really give off vibes he's transmitted in years past. 

So many people, including yours truly, sat there and became convinced he didn't want to be in Phoenix. 

Combine that with a later revealed fact that Monty Williams and Ayton didn't speak after the tumultuous Game 7 loss vs. Dallas, and there's good reason to believe the tension was real in Phoenix. 

“Why look back?” Ayton said at Media Day. “I don’t want to take any steps back, I just want to move forward.”

Ayton's first impression for the new season wasn't great, but maybe it was a message. 

Normally an easygoing person (which has landed him in trouble with fans in the past), he's been adamant that he wants his work between the lines to speak for itself, and even after the preseason loss against the Adelaide 36ers, he kept the same focus on getting better.

“I’m just trying to be aggressive and use some of the things I have been working on over the offseason just to see where I’m at, getting to the rim, finding spots where I’m comfortable at on the floor and just being available for my teammates when they’re ready to make quick decisions," said Ayton.

“Just getting in the mix and getting in the things you’re comfortable with, and getting to your spot. I’m just learning. I’m learning every year and just being aggressive as well. Being poised. I’m still shaky on being patient, but they threw some doubles out there. I didn’t expect to be doubled so early, but it’s just cool to learn, especially when you’re putting the ball in the ground.”

Williams says the relationship between he and Ayton is just fine. 

“We don’t need to air anything out,” Williams said on Tuesday (h/t Duane Rankin).

“That’s my point. I’m not going to keep addressing it. It’s like he’s the player, I’m the coach just like with (Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Mikal Bridges). DA gets his work in every day. He’s 22 and 12 in 20 minutes. Those are the kind of things that we expect from him. I don’t need to sit down and talk to him about it.”

To be fair, Ayton's postgame presser seemed more lively than his Media Day. Ayton looked more comfortable and relaxed in that environment, and who knows, maybe that day just wasn't his day.

From afar, Ayton is different. Teammates declared on Media Day he was in the gym putting in work all summer and he wasn't a different person, but he undoubtedly isn't the same kid from Arizona anymore.

Maybe that's a good thing. 

Time will tell if this assessment is accurate, but No. 22 has a different step to him - one that means business this time around. 

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