7 Reasons to Join the Suns’ Bandwagon
January 8, 2014
By Ben York, Suns.com
The Suns are awesome.Certainly, us at Suns.com think so, but it also seems to be the recurring sentiment of countless NBA fans and analysts alike. The good news? There has never been a better time to hop on the 2013-14 Phoenix Suns bandwagon. Click through for seven reasons why.
Not only are the Suns fun to watch, but their style has produced dramatic wins. The Suns have won 12 of their past 16 games and are averaging 105.4 points and 10.1 three-point makes over this stretch. Perhaps more impressively, the Suns’ 21-13 start to the season is their best through 34 games since also opening the 2009-10 season with a 21-13 mark.
After going through a tough 2012-13 season, the future looks bright. Currently, the Suns rank 10th in the NBA with an Offensive Rating (points scored per 100 possessions) of 105.2 (29th at 98.2 last season). The Suns also rank 10th in Defensive Rating at 101.9 (24th at 105.7 last season) and rank 9th in Net Rating at +3.4 (28th at -7.5 last season).
Dancing in December
Proving that their early success wasn’t a fluke, the Suns went 10-3 (.769) in December, which represents: The Suns’ first time winning 10+ games in a month since March 2012 (11-6); the Suns’ best winning percentage in a month since going 12-2 (.857) in March 2010; the Suns’ first time winning 10+ games in December since December 2007 (10-5).
Plumdog, Sky Miles, Miles High…
Whatever you want to call him, Miles Plumlee is proving to be a huge addition for the Suns. Thus far, Plumlee is averaging 9.9 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.82 blocks per game. If Plumlee can sustain this pace over the course of his sophomore NBA season, he would join Amar’e Stoudemire (2003-04) and Larry Nance (1982-83) as the only players in Suns history to average at least 10 points, 8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game in either their first or second season in the NBA. Furthermore, Plumlee’s eight double-doubles are the most by a Suns sophomore since Stoudemire (19). With 1.82 blocks per game, Miles Plumlee is a threat to join Amar’e Stoudemire (2007-08) as the only Suns to average at least 2.00 blocks since 1994-95.
Green Light From Anywhere
Although they’ve improved on both ends of the floor, their up-tempo offense has yielded some amazing results. The Suns rank 2nd in the NBA with 9.6 three-point makes per game and 9th with a .369 mark from long range. Not surprisingly, the team is 1st in the NBA with 19.2 fast break points per game (Oklahoma City is next with 17.4) and has scored at least 20 fast break points in 17 of the first 33 games of the season. In 2012-13, Phoenix scored 20+ fast break points 12 times all season.
Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe are both nearly averaging 18+ points and 6+ assists per game; the last teammates in the NBA to both average over 18 and six in a season were Michael Jordan (30.1, 6.1) and Scottie Pippen (21.0, 7.0) of the Chicago Bulls in 1991-92. Prior to Jordan and Pippen in 1991-92, the feat had only been accomplished twice: Fat Lever and Michael Adams of the Denver Nuggets in 1988-89 and Jo Jo White and John Havlicek of the Boston Celtics in 1972-73.
More amazingly, Dragic and Bledsoe are averaging a combined 36.9 points this season, the highest per game output by a Suns’ guard tandem since current Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek (20.1) and Kevin Johnson (19.7) combined to average 39.8 points in the 1991-92 season. They are also two of only three guards in the NBA, along with Miami’s Dwyane Wade, to be averaging over 18.0 points and shooting over 48.0 percent from the field this season.
Only the Beginning
On opening night, the average age of a Suns player was 25 years, 9 months, 13 days old, which gave Phoenix the seventh youngest opening night roster in the NBA. If Emeka Okafor, who began the season on the inactive list, is not counted, the Suns’ average age becomes 25 years, 4 months, 14 days old, which would move the roster to fourth youngest in the league.
As for NBA youth, the Suns entered opening night with the second fewest average games of NBA experience in the league. The average amount of career NBA games played by the Suns’ opening night roster is 171.6 and the average Suns player is in his 3.93rd season in the NBA. If Emeka Okafor is excluded, these averages drop to 139.4 career NBA games played and 3.46th season in the NBA.