Suns Are More Than Just 'Fun'
Pundits thought the Suns would be one of the worst teams in the NBA this year.
Optimists felt there could be flashes of potential.
The reality, however, has been even better.
As the Suns jumped out to a blistering start to their 2013-14 campaign, there was seemingly no individual on the planet who didn’t think the Suns were a “fun” team to watch.
At the time, that was good enough.
But as the season continued, it became increasingly clear this team was more than just entertaining; they were…well…really good.
That is to say, it seems there is truth behind the age-old adage that the whole is better than the sum of its parts.
“We expected to be good,” Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. “But we’ve really benefited from players understanding what their roles are and buying into the way we want to play. Not just on offense, but on both ends of the floor. The players really do enjoy being around each other and I think we have seen some of that chemistry translate onto the court.
“Again, we’re past the point of moral victories; we want to compete in every single game we play.”
At 31-21, the Suns’ start to the season is their best through 52 games since opening the 2009-10 season with a 31-21 mark. In fact, the Suns won their 26th game of the season at Philadelphia on Jan. 27, surpassing their win total of 25 games in 2012-13 with 38 games left to play.
Perhaps more noteworthy, the team’s 21 losses have come by an average margin of 7.7 points, which is the tied for the third-lowest average margin of defeat in the NBA.
This is all the more impressive considering the Suns opened the season with 10 players who did not appear in a game with the team last season (counting Channing Frye who missed the entire 2012-13 season), and four returnees (Goran Dragic, Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris, P.J. Tucker). The 10 new players is the second-highest total among NBA teams, trailing Milwaukee.
The team credits its success to communication, camaraderie and good old-fashioned hard work.
It sounds tired, but the aforementioned philosophy permeates from the top of the organization down and has instilled a sense of confidence and enhanced motivation in the team.
“We believe in each other, absolutely,” added P.J. Tucker. “We know that if we go out there and play hard, together and as a team that we can compete with anyone.
“That type of mentality isn’t going anywhere.”
Indeed, it would seem the Suns aren’t close to being content with where they’re at now.
With 30 games to go and the playoffs within reach, they want more.
"It's the excitement in the beginning, then it's the focus in the end on playoff positioning and that stuff,” Jeff Hornacek said on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Tuesday. “It all starts now; no games are going to be easy.
"If you don't bring it now, you're not going to win."