|2013-14 Team Rating|
|8th Overall||12th Overall|
Stats Through Jan. 20
No one could have imagined Miles Plumlee, Channing Frye and P.J. Tucker starting every game. But no one could have imagined this kind of production either, setting the tone for overachieving.
We'll get a good feel for just how good Eric Bledsoe was if the Suns have to play much or all of the second half without him. Goran Dragic and Bledsoe worked.
The Suns are challenging for a top-10 finish in shooting defense. Seriously. If they get into the teens in defensive rebounding some day, the world spins off its axis.
The next area of needed improvement. The Suns have little depth beyond Markieff Morris and Gerald Green, and Green now starts. Getting nothing from injured lottery pick Alex Len hurts.
Jeff Hornacek the coach is just like Jeff Hornacek the player. Unassuming, unflappable, as gracious as possible. And then he delivers results like a star, even as a rookie.
If the grade is based on expectations at the start of the season, the Suns get an A-plus. Plus, plus, plus. Rhodes Scholars. Just judging them straight up, though, the first half was an obvious success in becoming one of the positive stories of the entire league. Returning players showed progress, new players made immediate impacts, Hornacek and general manager Ryan McDonough proved to be smart hires, and Planet Orange was a good place to live again, even with the stomach punch of the Bledsoe injury.
That will be nothing compared to the vibe if Phoenix stays in the playoff conversation with Bledsoe possibly out the entire second half. Any progress from Len on the court will be valuable. Another rookie, Archie Goodwin, will get minutes, just as the time investment in the other young players will be valuable.
-- Scott Howard-Cooper
Explanation of Marking System
|Golden State Warriors||A-|
|Los Angeles Clippers||A-|
|Los Angeles Lakers||D|
|New Orleans Pelicans||C-|
|New York Knicks||D|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||A|
|Portland Trail Blazers||A|
|San Antonio Spurs||A|