Why they are winning: The Phoenix Suns are a good 3-point shooting team again

Ricky Rubio Monty Williams Phoenix Suns (Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)
Ricky Rubio Monty Williams Phoenix Suns (Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Cameron Johnson Phoenix Suns (Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)
Cameron Johnson Phoenix Suns (Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Albeit only one of a number of reasons the Phoenix Suns are a good team again, it cannot be overlooked that they are making their 3’s at an exciting clip.

As has been written on this site (often by yours truly) a number of times in the past, the Phoenix Suns have been a terrible 3-point shooting team for the past few years (worst in the league in each of the last two seasons) a statistic that cannot be overlooked as a legitimate correlation to their previous inability to win.

This season, however, through ten games, the Phoenix Suns are 6-4, and with their newfound winning (and non-blow out losses), is their collective ability to hit from the outside.

In fact, they are really  good, currently sitting with the third best 3-point percentage in the NBA at 38.8% on a franchise-high 34.8 attempts per game clip.

Remember: this is a franchise that finished worst in the league in 2017-18 and 2018-19 with shooting percentages of 33.4% and 32.9%, respectively.

Game-by-game, their outside shooting has a proven correlation as well.

While they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers after shooting 42.1% from beyond the arc (their second best outside shooting percentage thus far this season), it is their only loss in their top-six outside shooting nights this season.

And while they have also won a game shooting poorly from the outside (33.3% on opening night against the Sacramento Kings), it is their only victory in their bottom four shooting games of the season – although one of those losses, the one point defeat by the Utah Jazz on October 28, came while shooting 38.2% from the outside.

The reasons for this renaissance are numerous.

For starters, the team has an offense that is predicated on movement, finding the open man, and each player looks for open shooters or open lanes as frequently as possible. This is much different from the teams of the recent past who had no offensive identity and settled into isolation patters far  too often, easily at the detriment of the team’s ability to overcome more talented opponents.

Ricky Rubio‘s role as the offensive instigator, a true point guard who knows how to run offenses such as the one Monty Williams has implemented is huge as well is easily the most important piece to the entire puzzle. His role is easily as important to this team as the role that Steve Nash once played for the franchise.

Remember the days of recent years past without a legitimate starting point guard, then imagine the days of Seven Seconds or Less and consider the dramatic difference in style of play when Steve Nash was on the floor, and when he was not.

Rubio is no Nash, but he is certainly a very good point guard, and perfect for this team.

Overall, the roster that James Jones has built is full of shooters, far more so than had been under his predecessor as well.

Players and coaching staff could have talked about wanting to be a shooting team (heck, Igor Kokoskov said as much prior to the start of last season), but without shooters on the roster, “shooting” was only going to take them so far.

If you think about it, nearly every player on the active roster is a “shooter,” with the two exceptions of Deandre Ayton (who hasn’t played since game one anyway), and Cheick Diallo.

Group the roster’s build with that of an offense decidedly shooter-friendly and ran by a point guard who is looking for the open man, and you have got the makings of a team that is going to shoot.

All of this leads to the fact that the team as a whole is not only shooting exceptionally well, but also seeing a number of players shooting well above general expectations.