Point Guard Hydra
Phoenix’s identity is grounded in its backcourt. The Suns rank ninth in the league in three-point percentage (.362), and were in the top five before a recent dry spell from downtown over the last two weeks. Phoenix averages 107.2 points per game (third in the league), with 69.7 of them coming from backcourt players (65 percent).
It took some time for the three point guards to gel, but after the Los Angeles Lakers game last night, Eric Bledsoe seemed confident in the trio’s comfort level with each other:
"“We’ve got two great point guards beside myself coming in the game — well, one coming in the game, the other playing with me. But they always do a good job of staying in attack mode, getting to the rim, drawing people in, kicking it to other people, so it’s been real easy on my part.”"
On the season, lineups with the point guard hydra are outscoring opponents by a staggering 19.1 points per 100 possessions, per NBA.com. Over the last 15 games, during which the Suns are 11-4, that number jumps to 26.9 points per 100 possessions.
The Suns’ small-ball lineups don’t always pass the eye test, especially late in games when undersized lineups have trouble closing out a good defensive possession with a rebound. The Suns are in the bottom half of the league when it comes to rebounds and they lead the NBA in opponent second chance points (15.6 per game).
But in the fourth quarter, lineups with the three point guards are outscoring opposing teams by 23.7 points per 100 possessions. If not for two dumb technicals late in a road game against the San Antonio Spurs and a costly overtime turnover against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Suns would’ve won nine games straight thanks to those lineups.
How they’ve been so overlooked is beyond me, but it’s worth noting how each member of the trio fits in.
Next: Bledsoe's Improvement