Gives Suns an 'A'

Barry Gossage/NBAE

Grades are fun. Most of the time.

They’re always fun when you’re the one giving them. Not so much if you’re receiving them and they’re anything after the first two letters of the alphabet. Luckily that’s not the case for the Suns, who received a glowing midseason report card from The publication awarded Phoenix with a shiny ‘A’ (though for some reason it’s written in red. We thought that was only for bad stuff.).

To observers, the out-of-nowhere Suns have been delightful to watch. To opponents, their high-pressure defense, relentless attacking of the basket and youthful exuberance have been a royal pain in the neck. First-year coach Jeff Hornacek is in the Coach of the Year discussion for his ability to mold a group short on star power into a determined, team-first unit that has defeated Portland, Houston, Golden State, the Clippers and Indiana even though it entered the season projected to be the West’s worst team.

That last bit is, sadly, true, though Phoenix has quite enjoyed its success as the night-in-night-out underdog.

The wins over the Blazers, Rockets, Warriors, Clippers and Pacers are all worth mentioning for this big reason: Phoenix won those games by an average of 13.8 points. also lauds the Suns’ all-for-one approach that has nearly everyone playing well this season. Consider this: Goran Dragic, Gerald Green, Eric Bledsoe, Channing Frye, Markieff Morris and Miles Plumlee have all led the team in scoring in different games this season.

That doesn’t include Marcus Morris and Leandro Barbosa, who were outscored by teammates despite logging 20-point performances this season.