Between the Baselines: The Numbers Behind the Suns Hot Start

Kelly Oubre Jr

The Phoenix Suns are off to a hot start to open up the 2019-20 season with a 5-2 record, including three wins against Pacific Division rivals and a win over previously undefeated Philadelphia. The 5-2 start is the Suns’ best through seven games since also starting 5-2 in 2013-14.

MAKING A STATEMENT

The Suns are ONE OF JUST TWO teams to rank in the top 10 in both Offensive and Defensive Rating this season, along with the Milwaukee Bucks. 

The Suns have trailed by double figures for ONLY 15 seconds this season and not since the season opener. The Suns have held a lead of 10-plus points for a combined 79:24 this season, holding a lead of 10-plus points at some point in all but two games (h/t Evan Sidery).

The Suns have recorded a better field goal percentage than their opponent in every game this season, their first time doing so in seven-straight since a seven-game run from April 7-Oct. 28, 2010.

Over the last five seasons, the Suns join the 2018-19 Golden State Warriors and 2015-16 Oklahoma City Thunder as the only teams to shoot a better field goal percentage than their opponent in each of the season’s first seven games.

The Suns are three game over .500 for the first time since being 38-35 on March 27, 2015.

OFFENSE

Net Rating: 3rd in the NBA (+7.8)

Offensive Rating: 9th in the NBA (108.8)

Points Per Game: 8th in the NBA (115.0)

Assists Per Game: 2nd in the NBA (27.7)

True Shooting Percentage: 2nd in the NBA (58.7%)

The Suns are averaging 32.3 fourth-quarter points this season, ranking FIRST in the NBA. The Suns are shooting a league-best 52.2 FG% in the fourth quarter, ranked THIRD shooting 49.1 3FG% in the fourth with an average of 3.7 triples in the period and rank THIRD by shooting 88.2 FT% in the fourth.

The Suns are averaging 61.1 second-half points this season, ranking FIRST in the NBA.

DEFENSE

The Suns currently rank SEVENTH in the NBA by allowing 100.9 points per 100 possessions. In each of the previous three seasons, the Suns ranked in the bottom three in the league in Defensive Rating.

Net Rating: 3rd in the NBA (+7.8)

Defensive Rating: 7th in the NBA (100.9)

Opponent FG%: 10th in the NBA (43.3%)

Opponent TOs Per Game: 4th in the NBA (19.1)

Steals Per Game: 9th in the NBA (8.7)

The Suns are holding opponents to just 23.3 first-quarter points per game this season, ranking SECOND in the NBA. They’re holding opponents to just 50.4 first-half points per game this season, ranking FOURTH in the NBA. They’ve held their opponent below 40% from the field three times through seven games. All last season, the Suns only held an opponent below 40% from the field three times. 

FEEDING THE ROCK

Ricky Rubio is averaging 8.5 assists per game with only 2.5 turnovers per game. He is the ONLY player in the NBA this season with over 8 assists per game and less than 3 turnovers.

The Suns have assisted 67.4% of their made field goals this season, ranking FIRST in the NBA. They also rank FIRST with an Assist Ratio of 19.1%, meaning 19.1% of Suns possessions end with an assisted field goal.

The Suns rank SECOND in the NBA with 27.7 assists per game. This is the HIGHEST average in franchise history since averaging 27.8 assists in 1988-89. The team has 194 assists, tied for the SIXTH-MOST through a season’s first seven games in team history and most since having 194 in 2005-06. 

LETTING IT FLY

The Suns have made at least 11 three-pointers in five straight games, tying the LONGEST streak in franchise history (also five straight from March 30-April 8, 2005). 

The Suns have made 89 three-pointers through their first seven games this season, the MOST through a season’s first seven games in team history, 15 more than the previous high (74 in 2009-10) 

FIVE different qualified Suns players are shooting at least 40% from three-point range: Devin Booker (50.0%), Aron Baynes (48.4%), Jevon Carter (41.7%), Tyler Johnson (40.4%), Ricky Rubio (40.0%). Booker ranks tied for 9th in the NBA and Baynes Ranks 21st.

The Suns have made more three-pointers than their opponent in 6 of 7 games this season. The team currently ranks 11th in the NBA with 12.7 three-point makes per game this season and 7th by shooting 37.7 3FG%. 

The Suns attempted 43 three-pointers on Oct. 26 against the Clippers, tying the most in franchise history in a non-overtime game.

WHAT’S NEXT

Two of the hottest teams in the NBA in name and record tip-off on Thursday as Miami Heat come to town. Suns last started 6-2 or better in 2009-10 when they started 7-1 on their way to the Western Conference Finals.

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