2. Small-Ball Lineups Working
The small-ball lineups don’t always pass the eye test. It can be pretty frustrating to watch an undersized Suns unit struggle to close out defensive possessions with a rebound, especially when Alex Len isn’t on the floor late in games.
But as much as some fans spend their time tinkering around with Isaiah Thomas on ESPN’s Trade Machine, the numbers suggest the point guard hydra experiment is working.
According to NBA.com, lineups with Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas are out-scoring opponents by 15.5 points per 100 possessions. In the fourth quarter, that number jumps to 19.4 points per 100 possessions.
They’ve only played 126 minutes together this season, but when those three are on the court together late in games, it’s no wonder the Suns are the NBA’s highest scoring fourth quarter team. They also have the NBA’s best point differential in the fourth quarter at +2.6.
It may not feel like it, especially since Phoenix hasn’t always looked pretty trying to close out games, but McDonough and Jeff Hornacek‘s decision to play three point guards together is starting to pay dividends.