The Phoenix Suns win over the Orlando Magic means that finally, according to the standings, they’re better than they were last season.
The Phoenix Suns were bad last season. Really bad. At 21-61 and with a .236 winning percentage, they finished the season with the NBA’s worst record. They were last in offensive rating and last in defensive rating. Luckily, the team went through an overhaul this offseason. They brought in veterans, young talent, and a new coach. It would be impossible to be that bad again this season.
But for a while, they were even worse. A 4-24 start meant a .143 winning percentage, putting the team on pace for 11.7 wins for the season. Even given injury issues, a brutal schedule, and a roster and coach with no familiarity, that start was unimaginably poor. With better role players and number one pick Deandre Ayton, the Suns should’ve been playing better than they were.
But finally, the Phoenix Suns have picked it up. They won four straight, and then after two consecutive losses, they won a big overtime game last night against the Orlando Magic. That win is more than just one game in the standings. It puts the team at 9-26, giving them a winning percentage of .257. For the first time since very early in the season, the Suns’ record is better than last year’s.
They’ve shown they’re better all around too. They’re 28th in offensive rating, 27th in defensive rating, and 28th in net rating. That still not good, but it’s better than last season when they were 30th in all three of those categories. They’re in slightly better league standing too. Instead of being alone in last place, they’re now tied for second to last. Not a huge difference, but a meaningful one.
The Phoenix Suns demeanor on the court reflects that of an improved team. For a while they were carrying themselves as a team that had no chance to win, and a ten game losing streak made that seem true. But on this 5-2 stretch, they look like a brand new team – a team that’s better than they were last season. And finally, according to their record, they are.