Gustavo Ayon has been a popular topic around these parts over the last few weeks thanks to his role in helping lead Mexico to the championship at the 2013 FIBA Americas. Ayon was certainly up to the task averaging 17.5 points and 9.6 rebounds while capturing MVP honors at the tournament. That said, the NBA isn't FIBA, so what can we expect to see out of Ayon in a Hawks' uniform?
Ayon began his NBA career in New Orleans during the 2012 season where he appeared in 54 games for the Hornets averaging 5.9 points and 4.9 rebounds. He was dealt during the offseason to the Orlando Magic in the Ryan Anderson deal. He saw less time with the Magic where he backed up Nikola Vucevic. He was then sent to the Bucks as part of the J.J. Redick trade.
Milwaukee initially insisted on Ayon being included in the Redick deal and picked up his 2013-14 option for $1.5 million. However, after signing Zaza Pachulia and drafting Giannis Antetokounmpo there was a logjam in their frontcourt which resulted in Ayon being waived.
Atlanta was there waiting and ironically it will be Pachulia's production whom Ayon will be asked to help replace with the Hawks. Paul Millsap and Al Horford appear to be entrenched as starters leavin Ayon to compete with Elton Brand, Pero Antic and Mike Scott for playing time in the frontcourt.
How the frontcourt rotation shakes itself out will be one of the bigger storylines during the team's training camp. Brand being versatile enough to play both the power forward and center spots would seem to give him a leg up to be the team's first big off the bench. However, Ayon's size can't be overlooked especially on nights when Atlanta faces some of the bigger centers in the league. For that reason alone, Ayon would figure to be at worst in the team's four man rotation up front and could see more minutes depending on the matchup.
Pachulia was a fan favorite in Atlanta where his biggest strength was his rebounding and the toughness he brought to the frontcourt. Ayon's advanced stats are comparable to Pachulia's and he may be more of a polished player offensively. When you factor in Pachulia's Achilles injury and the $15.6 million that Milwaukee gave him then Ayon looks even more like a bargain.