Phoenix Suns stay up among NBA power rankings leaders

Phoenix Suns, Jae Crowder and Devin Booker (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, Jae Crowder and Devin Booker (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Phoenix Suns began the season 8-8, with key players affected by injuries, primarily Dario Saric.

Since that time, however, the Chris PaulDevin Booker-led team has inspired memories of Nash-Amare-Marion playoff teams. Those memories have grown further away than Suns fans would like, but the drought appears to be nearing its end.

The Phoenix Suns continue to rank among the top NBA teams, with the All-Star break power rankings illustrating big-time belief.

Barring some real unfortunate injuries, the Suns seem capable of holding it together and, if the right fit is found, a trade-deadline acquisition could boost hopes for a lengthy postseason run.

ESPN power rankings: Phoenix Suns #5

Taking a little more of a wait-and-see approach, ESPN wonders how well the Suns will handle the final 37 games of the regular season.

"Phoenix finds itself with the second-best record in the league and is staring up at only the Utah Jazz. The only time Phoenix has truly struggled this season was following a week of postponements because of the coronavirus, when they dropped four of five — including two tough overtime losses to Denver. The biggest question now is how far the Suns’ two All-Stars — Chris Paul and Devin Booker — will take them."

Bleacher Report power rankings: Phoenix Suns #2

Many industry insiders peg the Suns as a major surprise.

Most Suns fans believed the team was on the right track, but not many predicted 24-11 at the break. With Chris Paul earning every bit of his All-Star status during the season’s first half, leadership is not in question.

"Phoenix is playing the part of party-crashers this season. As the Los Angeles Lakers deal with injuries and the Los Angeles Clippers struggle, the Suns have waltzed right into the second spot in the West. They are on a four-game win streak and are winners of eight of their last 10 games. It can’t be overstated how good this team has been."

A consistent and healthy run toward the playoffs could mean the Suns may host their own series of parties this spring. power rankings: Phoenix Suns #2

The site again ranks the Suns as having a soft path — the No. 1 easiest schedule — during the first half of the season, adding that it’s “based on cumulative opponent record, and adjusted for home vs. away and days of rest before a game.”

The Suns are next-to-last in the NBA’s “pace” category, but No. 3 in Defensive Rating and Net Rating. That’s good.

"The Suns … rank second in field goal percentage (50.5%), fifth in 3-point percentage (40.3%) and third in free throw percentage (84.3%) over (the past) five weeks. And their only two losses over their last 15 games came in games they led by 24 and 17 points. … The Suns have trailed by double-digits in only 11 games, fewest in the league. … They’re tied with Utah (19-2) for the fewest losses (the Suns are 14-2) in games that weren’t within five points in the last five minutes."

CBS Sports power rankings: Phoenix Suns #3

CBS wrote over the weekend they are “taking a break from our week-to-week format and ranking the teams based on their overall performance in the first half.”

They put the Suns at No. 3 behind only the Jazz and Nets, and up two spots from last week’s ranking.

"Mikal Bridges has become an ideal 3-and-D complement. Deandre Ayton’s scoring is down, but he’s still rebounding and shooting well from the field as he adjusts to playing with Chris Paul. Monty Williams changed his starting lineup quite a bit over the first half, showcasing a malleable roster that can adjust according to matchups. There’s no doubt the Suns are for real, with the No. 3 defense and No. 8 offense in the NBA."

The Suns visit Portland on Thursday and host Indiana on Saturday this week.

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