Phoenix Suns shoot for the playoffs: ranking top 3 roles

Phoenix Suns, Chris Paul, Devin Booker (Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Phoenix Suns, Chris Paul, Devin Booker (Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Phoenix Suns Cameron Johnson and Mikal Bridges
Phoenix Suns, Cameron Johnson (right) and Mikal Bridges (Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /

Phoenix Suns: The No. 3 most important role

This one lands on the scorers not named Devin Booker and Chris Paul.

With the team continuing to play at a slow pace — No. 29 in the league beginning play on Thursday — the possessions matter more than on most teams.

At the end of each possession, ideally, is an open look or a strong drive to the hoop. The open looks are where the role falls primarily to Cam Johnson, Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder.

Each has proved capable of converting from long range, as you can see:

C. Johnson, 24.2 minutes, .559 on 2-point field goals, .378 from 3-point range

M. Bridges, 32.3, .620, .420

J. Crowder, 27.6, .485, .376

But wait, Suns fans certainly have taken notice of the high-quality shooting from the deeper supporting cast.

How about Dario Saric showing an improved versatility and comfort? Saric missed significant time early this season as the Suns plodded through an 8-8 start.

Now healthy and a key contributor, he’s playing 18.1 minutes per game and hitting .561 on 2-point attempts and an impressive .377 from 3-point land.

In limited attempts, deep rotation guy Langston Galloway converts 3s at a .457 rate, leading the team, and Cameron Payne buries his shots from beyond the arc at a .421 clip.

That’s some upper-level shooting — on top of the firepower from Booker and Paul — that all strong playoff teams must sustain as postseason series unwind.

As a team whose odds to win its division went from 17-1 to 4-1 in three short weeks, the Suns have earned the NBA’s respect.