Suns

Can the Suns Sustain Their Early Success?

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The Phoenix Suns have been a surprise to people so far this year. After finishing 19-63 (dead last in the West) last year, people wondered if the Suns would ever make it anywhere in the NBA. The departure of several players including Jamal Crawford and TJ Warren didn’t look good for the team. With adding Cameron Johnson from North Carolina and Ty Jerome from Virginia during the draft, and five new players including Ricky Rubio and Frank Kaminsky, the Suns didn’t make many big player moves to turn their 2018-19 season into a title-contending team. They did, however, hire another new head coach in Monty Williams in hopes of turning the ship around. So far, he’s off to a good start.

At this point in the season, the Suns are 5-2 in the league and are sitting in a three-way tie for 2nd in the West behind the Los Angeles Lakers. These wins come from the Kings, Clippers, Warriors, Grizzlies, and the 76ers. Some of those teams come in as playoff teams and the title contenders of the Clippers and 76ers. Their two losses come from the playoff-contending Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz. Both losses were decided by one point. From their win-loss record and the teams they’ve played, it seems like they’re where they need to be at the start of the season. The success doesn’t stop there.

Next Men Up

With the suspension of 2018 first overall pick Deandre Ayton after their first game, the Suns were looking for players to step up to fill his shoes. Still having Devin Booker to carry the load for the Suns, they would find that they are just fine. Booker is tied for 10th overall in scoring with 26.1 points per game. Coming off a 40-point performance against the 76ers, Booker is doing what he does best early in the season.

With new players Rubio and Kaminsky playing big minutes, the Suns find themselves on the winning end of games they were said to lose. Rubio is playing a big part in these wins by averaging 12.7 points per game and being 5th in the NBA with 8.5 assists per game. These players are joined by high-minute players of Kelly Oubre Jr., Dario Saric, and Aron Baynes who is starting in place of Ayton. Combining all these players has led to success on both ends of the floor.

Early Success By The Numbers

The Suns currently rank among the top 10 in defensive (100.9- 6th) and offensive (108.8- 9th) rating. If they can keep this up, they can be a threat on both sides of the ball. Additionally, the Suns are shooting 4th in the league at 47.1% from the field and know how to pass the ball too. They are 2nd in assists with 27.7/game and 1st in assist percentage with 67.4%. Their offensive aggression gives them 24.4 free throw attempts a game and they make 20 of those. This gives them the 4th best average of 81.9% from the line.

On the other side of the ball, Phoenix is 9th in steals per game (8.7) and 9th in opponent points in the paint per game (43.7). If the Suns continue to be a top-10 team in statistical categories, then they can continue to be a top 10 NBA team and make the playoffs.

The Suns are looking good at the start of the season. Being top 10 in many categories is a difficult thing to maintain, but if they stick to the script, they can stay there. Playing and beating some of the league’s best can boost their confidence levels in addition to looking good around in the league. Their next game is against the 5-2 Miami Heat who are tied for second in the East. A win against them can help their case even more.

Stats taken from stats.nba.com. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @TLSportsMedia for the latest NBA news and insight.

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About Jordan Taylor

Los Angeles Clippers Writer. Email: jtfsu@outlook.com | Twitter: @jtfsu98

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