The Phoenix Suns are starting to click

Phoenix Suns Devin Booker Deandre Ayton Mikal Bridges (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns Devin Booker Deandre Ayton Mikal Bridges (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

After only 4 wins in their first 28 games, the Phoenix Suns have won 3 games in a row. It seems the team may finally be starting to click.

28 games into the season, the Phoenix Suns had only accumulated four wins. 31 games in and that total is up to 7 victories. Though it’s nowhere near what we were hoping for prior to the start of the season, it appears the team may finally be starting to click.

The Suns just had a 10 game losing streak where they averaged 98.5 points per game while allowing 114 points per game, a minus 15.5 point differential. Phoenix is now on a 3 game winning streak where they are averaging 111.3 points per game while allowing 99.3 points per game, a plus 12 point differential.

That’s a 12.8 point per game leap on offense and a 14.7 point improvement on defense, equaling a 27.5 point differential per game turn around.

As crucial as he is to the team, it can’t just be that Devin Booker‘s back. It would be hard to fathom how the franchise is that much better by able to let go of Trevor Ariza. Players have stepped up, roles have been solidified, effort is being put forth, and the team is having fun.

A combination of several positives equals a leap forward. The team is getting better in front of our eyes. Let’s look at some positive statistics during this stretch. These will be both as a team and as individual players.

Over the course of the season, the Suns have ranked 29th in points scored and 24th in points allowed, combining for 29th in point differential. If you took their numbers over their last 3 games and made it their season numbers, that would put Phoenix at 13th in points scored, 1st in points allowed, and 1st in point differential.

No, this wouldn’t hold up over the whole season and that’s why the team is where they are in the standings. However, it is good to look at these numbers for the sole reason of looking at their improvement and the run they’re making.

Defensively, they are locking up the opponent over this trio of matches. The enemy during this stretch has shot 40.3 percent from the field, 20.4 percent from three, and 70.4 percent from the charity stripe.

The most impressive of these numbers is their work on limiting the other team from downtown. Over the last 3 games, opposing teams has combined to make a mere 21 triples out of 103 attempts.

It’s not just that the opponent has been cold. It’s that if you look at the three point defense, it’s almost beautiful. They run such switches so that you are very rarely going to get a good look against them. The opposing shooter almost always has a hand in his face. This is something that can be continued and will help them tremendously over the long run.

They’ve also significantly improved at rebounding (40.4 over season to 45 over last 3 games), steals (their 9.7 would rank second in the NBA) and blocks (their 5.7 would rank seventh). They also rank 29th in turnovers on the season but first over the past three games. That’s a recipe for success. They just have to keep cooking.

Jamal Crawford has averaged 8.7 assists over his last three games, including a career high 14 dimes against the Knicks. Mikal Bridges is averaging ten points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 0.6 blocks through nine games so far this month.

Josh Jackson, though still struggling overall from the field, has been hitting at a better clip from deep lately. Over the last 14 games, he’s made 0.9 triples on 30 percent accuracy. Through nine games this month, he’s made 1.1 triples on 36 percent accuracy. Over his last five games, he’s made 1.6 triples on 44 percent accuracy. That’s solid and consistent improvement.

Also over the last five, Jackson has put up 11.8 points along with 5.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.8 blocks per game with only 2.2 turnovers.

Richaun Holmes has been a solid backup big, and the team needs to lock him up long term. He’s exactly what the team needs behind their number one pick. Through nine games this month, Holmes is making 69 percent of his shots and scoring 11.7 points with 4.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game in only 21.2 minutes.

T.J. Warren has continued his break out year. I don’t know why people were insistent on trading him and I’m glad we hung onto him. I would only deal him for a legit young star but at this point it looks like he may be becoming one himself. Over his last 4 games, he’s shot 56 percent from the field and 48 percent from three, hitting 2.8 per night for 25 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1 steal, and 0.8 blocks per night. Oh, and only 4 total turnovers.

Our super duo of Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton in the pair of games since Booker has come back from injury has been special.

Ayton has shot 60 percent from the field and gotten to the line 5 times per game, up from around 2 on the season. He’s averaged 19.5 points and 12.5 rebounds in those two matches. His defensive numbers have also gone up. He’s giving more effort and swatting 1.3 shots over his last 13 games.

In Booker’s two games back, he’s shot 54 percent from the field and lit it up with 33 points, 7 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game with only 3 total turnovers.

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There is a lot of positive to take from this stretch. Hopefully, they can keep it going. Let’s build on this and continue a winning stretch. The team is starting to click. Let’s enjoy basketball again.