Are The Suns The Worst Team In The NBA?

Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /

The Phoenix Suns have dropped 13 of their past 14 games. They rank in the bottom five offensively and defensively over that time span. How bad are they?

This season wasn’t supposed to end up this way. The Phoenix Suns had optimistic feelings regarding their future coming out of the offseason. They were considered overachievers for the past couple of years, winning 48 games in 2013-14 and 39 games in 2014-15. The team was a playoff contender in each of those campaigns, and they made news by signing Tyson Chandler in the offseason.

This was supposed to be a squad that could keep up in a tough Western Conference. If things went really well, they were considered a sleeper playoff contender.

Despite their optimism, this team has been surrounded by drama ever since Markieff Morris demanded a trade in the offseason, and it has carried over to the regular season.

Since the campaign began, there have been rumors of Jeff Hornacek losing the attention of his team (and possibly his job), Morris has been suspended for throwing a towel at his coach, two of Hornacek’s assistants have been fired, Eric Bledsoe injured his knee and he is out for the rest of the season, Chandler hasn’t performed as the team’s starting center, and the Suns are now in the middle of a stretch of a basketball that is so bad, it is almost unbearable to watch.

What a difference three months makes.

The Suns have now lost 13 of their past 14 games, and they are beginning to look like they may be the worst team in the NBA. It’s kind of hard to believe when you look at the rosters in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Minnesota and Brooklyn, but the statistics show that the Suns have been the worst squad over the past month.

Their record currently stands at 13-29, which is tied for the third-worst record in the association, but they are catching up to the other teams in the bottom of the standings quickly. There are only two teams that have a worse record at this point, the Lakers and 76ers, which happen to be two of the teams that have beaten the Suns over the past 14 games.

If you want to dig a little deeper and look at some of the Suns recent losses, you will see that they have lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves by 30, the Los Angeles Lakers by 20, and the Sacramento Kings by 23. They have also dropped home games to the Philadelphia 76ers and Denver Nuggets.

The Suns have been outscored during this stretch by an average of 13.4 points per game, and they have lost six of their games by 19 or more points. They are not only dropping games to all of the other terrible teams in the league, but they are also getting blown out the majority of the time.

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The one thing that the Suns can claim to be is consistent – as in “consistently bad” across the board. Their offense has been nonexistent, and they rank 26th or worse in field goal percentage, rebounds, assists, turnovers and scoring. Their turnovers are extremely troubling considering that opponents are scoring 21.4 points per game off of the Suns miscues.

Overall, they have an offensive rating of 97.5 over the past 14 games, which ranks 29th in the NBA over that time span.

As bad as the Suns are on the offensive end of the floor, they are probably worse on defense. The team ranks 27th or worse in opponent’s field goal percentage, three-point percentage, assists and scoring. They are allowing opposing squads to run over them on their way to 110.2 points per game, which is inexcusable. Phoenix has a horrible 112.3 defensive rating, which ranks dead last in the league.

The Brooklyn Nets are the only team in the NBA that also ranks in the bottom five offensively and defensively since Dec. 20.

This franchise is a complete mess right now, and there is no easy solution to fix it. It has become clear that this squad can’t compete on a nightly level. Hornacek says that the team hasn’t thrown in the towel, but it is clearly time to do so. That means that the younger players such as Archie Goodwin, T.J. Warren and Devin Booker need to play as many meaningful minutes as they can.

There is no reason to not let these youngsters gain experience.

The Suns have nothing to lose at this point. They are going to continue to drop games no matter which direction they move in. This might all pay off in the end with a high lottery pick, but until then, Phoenix fans are going to have grit their teeth and bear with this sorry excuse for basketball. At least they have the Arizona Cardinals to root for in the meantime.