Flying completely under the radar, the Phoenix Suns are currently placed in the top 8 of the Western Conference. No NBA analyst could have predicted the outstanding results this young team are producing after being predicted to finish second-to-last in the league at the start of the season. Questions have been raised to how the Suns have produced early success, but the team has said that they’re fully focused on ‘team’ effort, which has been a major contributor to their achievements thus far.
Fresh after a win over the Golden State Warriors, the Suns are now 14-9 and full of confidence. Phoenix’s backcourt in Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe has eventually clicked into gear after being hit by injuries early this season, which prevented them from playing together cohesively. Dragic, who sprained his ankle and hit with a face contusion had to sit out a few games while Bledsoe took main control of the point. Once he returned, Bledsoe injured his shin and missed 8 straight games. During this time, Gerald Green was promoted to the starting role while Dragic and Bledsoe were injured which helped Green to gain confidence and skill from the three-point line and is now, a good energy player off the bench.
After the return of Dragic and Bledsoe, the Suns have beaten tough teams in Houston, Portland and Golden State, giving the rest of the league ample notice on what exactly they’re capable of doing this season. The backcourt duo are reeling in highlights in scoring and setting up teammates in ways that entertain the increasing number of fans at US Airways Centre. Phoenix still remains the NBA’s number one fast break team led by Dragic (5.4 fast break points; 6th in the league) and Eric Bledsoe (4.7 fast break points; 9th in the league). Both guards average over 18 ppg and 6 ast and the last time two teammates have produced those numbers were Michael Jordan (30.1 ppg, 6.1 ast) and Scottie Pippen (21 ppg, 7 ast) on the ’91-’92 Chicago Bulls team.
Yet, the Suns are not a two-man team. Miles Plumlee has increased confidence and aggressiveness the past couple of games compiling highlight reels of dunks, alley-oops and blocks, especially the ‘Block Of The Year’ contender against DeMarcus Cousins, establishing himself as a defensive anchor on the Suns defence. Plumlee’s contribution inside on the offensive and defensive end assists teammates for inside options on offence while an intimidator for opponents on defence.
To add to the bench’s productivity, the Morris twins have contributed to the team’s success both averaging over 10 ppg. Markieff’s quickness allows him to pass taller forwards to the basket or shoot over them with his consistent jump shot while Marcus’ toughness on the glass and his inside and outside presence is a threat to opponents on defence. Although the twins possess adequate, individual skills, the connection between the two on-court assists both their confidence and plays for teammates efficiently.
This Phoenix Suns team will aim to continue their success throughout the season in attempt to secure a place in the Playoffs. While popularity of backcourt duo Bledsoe and Dragic will continue to grow, the accompaniment of Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee, Markieff and Marcus Morris and crew aims to take each game as it comes. The season is still only young, but the excitement and development of this young group is only the beginning.