Suns in the Power Rankings: Dec. 10
December 10, 2013
Twenty games into the season, the Suns continue to impress NBA observers. After being predicted by many to finish at or near the bottom of the league standings, Phoenix is sitting in the eighth and final playoff spot in the West as of Tuesday morning.
Their rise in play and in the standings has led to a similar lift in the popular tradition of online power rankings. Suns.com takes a glance at their place in five sets of polls published by five major online publications: NBA.com, ESPN.com, USA Today, SI.com, and CBSSports.com
In what becomes a recurring theme in this week's set of rankings, NBA.com credits Head Coach Jeff Hornacek for his influence on the young-and-growing Suns.
"Six of the nine rookie coaches have their teams above .500 and/or surpassing expectations, but it's hard to argue that any of the other eight have done a better job than Jeff Hornacek."
NBA.com ultimately pegs the Suns at 10th, one place lower than last week despite going 2-1 in that span, including a road win at Houston.
The Worldwide Leader in Sports made Phoenix one of seven teams that stayed put in their respective rankings. The Suns are locked in at 10th, though oddly enough the Rockets climbed a spot despite Phoenix handing them one of their two losses last week.
Like so many interested parties, ESPN.com is enchanted with the ongoing on-court chemistry between points guards Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic, who is playing the best basketball of his career in recent weeks.
"How he and Goran Dragic fare as a starting twosome will remain a fascination, especially after Dragic just rumbled for an average of 21.2 points and 9.2 assists over a recent six-game stretch that began during EB's absence."
Phoenix didn't move in SI.com's rankings either, watching teams move up and down around them while maintaining the 11th spot thanks to another solid week.
SI's Matt Dollinger had plenty of positive notes about Phoenix, but his last may resonate the most with local fans and observers:
"Best of all, Phoenix plays with high energy on a nightly basis, an impressive feat for an inexperienced team playing under a first-year coach in Jeff Hornacek."
USA Today had the Suns lower than most a week ago, but rewarded them for their 2-1 week with a two-spot bump in their rankings.
The publication takes the short-and-sweet approach in its power rankings breakdowns of each team, but even a one-sentence blurb was enough to point out an interesting factoid: Gerald Green is second on the team in total points (267).
Finally, CBSSports.com gave the Suns the biggest jump out of the five sets of rankings, vaulting them from 13th to 10th.
Like their neighbors over at USA Today, CBSSports is short in its analysis and prefers to get right to the point:
"By the time you realize this team isn't tanking, they've kicked..."
Well, you get the point.
Phoenix gets a bonus appearance in a sixth ranking this week. Well-regarded TV personality and columnist David Aldridge includes his own set of half-rankings, listing what he deems to be the top 15 teams in the league along with mini-analysis of his own.
Aldridge gave Phoenix the lowest ranking of the week, keeping them at 12th, the same spot he placed them a week ago. He threw in a stats-based kudos toward the much-discussed Suns backcourt as well:
"Suns' usual starting backcourt of Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe shooting combined .484, second only among NBA backcourts to Memphis's Mike Conley and Tony Allen..."