The Phoenix Suns' top-10 value, dunking through the hoop and more bad defense

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns might be slipping on the court, but they are still a top-10 team in Forbes’ annual franchise valuation rankings, checking in at No. 8.

Forbes estimates that the Suns are worth $411 million, down 4 percent from the $429 valuation of a year ago but still making them a very valuable franchise and a solid deal for Robert Sarver, who bought them for $404 million in 2004.

Forbes paints a mixed picture of the Suns’ current state in its analysis:

The Suns made a surprising run to the Western Conference Finals last season before being eliminated by the eventual NBA champion Lakers in six games. Despite the team’s stellar play on the court, attendance fell 4%, to an average of 17,648 per game. The Suns sellout streak of 153 games at US Airways Center ended early last season and a few days later the team fired about 10% of its non-basketball staff. Although the Suns have been battered by the particularly bad Phoenix economy, they remain among the league’s most profitable teams thanks in large part to its sweetheart arena deal. During the past five seasons the team’s average operating income has been $28 million, more than any franchise that does not call Chicago, Detroit, Houston or Los Angeles home.

I wonder how much a potential Nash trade would harm the Suns’ value in next year’s rankings.

Don’t try this at home

Verve Sol Patrol member Nick Corrales did the impossible Wednesday night during the Suns’ nightly trampoline dunking exhibition: He jumped right through the hoop.

It’s something you have to see to believe, and I’m disappointed in myself for looking away at just the wrong time.

Thankfully for all of us, there is the wonder known as YouTube (around the 1:25 mark):

At first I thought it was planned just because the timing of it all was just too perfect, like how the next dunker completes his attempt just as Corrales finds his way to safety.

After watching it a few times it’s obvious he just got a little too high and miraculously averted disaster with a spectacle that we can all laugh about now and look forward to seeing again soon on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays of the Week.

Plugging the leaks

Before Wednesday’s game Alvin Gentry made a noteworthy observation about his team’s struggles:

“What’s happening with us is you plug the dyke and there’s another leak right here. In some kind of way we’ve got to get all the holes plugged if we’re going to make a run at the playoffs.”

If it’s not defense then it’s rebounding, and if it’s not rebounding it’s turnovers and if it’s not turnovers then the offense just went into an extended slump. It’s been one thing after another and the Suns have rarely gotten all of those elements right at the same time.

In the Bobcats loss, the Suns cut down their turnovers (nine), did a manageable job on the boards although not when it counted (-6) and played very well offensively only to have the defense spring a major leak.

The Suns’ offensive efficiency of 121.6, according to HoopData, was their second-best effort to only the win in New York since their Dec. 5 win over Washington. However, the slow pace may have masked how bad the defense was (as well as how good the offense was), as the 88 possessions made this one of Phoenix’s slowest contests of the year.

In those 88 possessions the Suns yielded a defensive rating of 129.5, which is even worse than their porous performance in Charlotte. It’s so bad in fact that only the Denver loss in which the Suns gave up 138 was worse all season.

Take your pick as to what you think the issue will be Friday against the Celtics.

Tags: Defense Nick Corrales

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