It’s hard to fathom that the Phoenix Suns are currently ranked #1 in the Pacific Division and #4 in the Western Conference. It’s early days, but it’s a statement you wouldn’t have had recognized last year or the year before.
Their opening-night blowout win against the Sacramento Kings wasn’t anything to write home about, but their last 2 games have been somewhat eye-popping. They took a solid Denver Nuggets team into overtime, on the road, and lost by a single point. And on Saturday night, they took down the unstoppable Los Angeles Clippers, 130-122.
So how have the Suns turned things around? There are a few points here. First, they finally snagged a solid point guard, Ricky Rubio. They needed him because their ball movement was horrendous. Case in point: Last year they were ranked 17th in assist percentage, and this year sits at the top of the NBA at nearly 70 percent. Well done Rubio.
Next, their offense seems to be far more dynamic than constantly relying on Devin Booker to keep up with the scoring pace of each game. Players like Kelly Oubre Jr., Dario Šarić, Rubio adds a little bit, and the new starting big Aron Baynes — who comes in after DeAndre Ayton’s Suspension — make far more back-door cuts and screens to free up players. The team feels more fluid with their ball movement and scoring balance, giving off a vibe that they’ve been playing together for years.
The Phoenix Suns are off to a good start. Fans can hope and pray that the basketball gods keep this current ship afloat, so they can soak up this adventure, for however long it lasts.
Catch you Thursday.