The Phoenix Suns have ‘playoff-ready’ written all over them

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Phoenix Suns had question marks surrounding the team at the start of the season. Can they make the playoffs? Can this team finish top five in the Western Conference?  Are they a contender?

Yes, yes and yes. The Phoenix Suns are playoff-ready.

From watching the Suns play, one could say the team is easily playoff-ready. Back-to-back road wins at Milwaukee and Philadelphia spell it out.

The Suns not only pass the eye test, but there are three team statistics that stand out to me.

Phoenix Suns’ No. 1 stat: Pace

The Suns hold a pace of 98.13, being the seventh-lowest pace in the NBA. All four teams that made the conference finals in the 2019-20 playoffs held a lower pace during their playoff runs. This indicates that the Suns are already playing in a way that will work in the playoffs.

Possessing the ability to play slower down the stretch of games with Chris Paul dictating each play is a significant advantage.

Phoenix Suns’ No. 2 stat: Assist-to-turnover ratio

The owners of the second-best assist to turnover ratio are the Suns.

Most of this can be credited to Paul, who is second in assist to turnover ratio with a score of 4.17 among players who have played at least 30 games and average over 20 minutes per game.

Cameron Payne has also been careful with the ball this season. Ranking 19th in assist to turnover ratio for players who have played at minimum 30 games, Payne has proved himself as a worthy ball-handler off the bench.

Another piece for the Suns is Jevon Carter, who is surprisingly third in assist to turnover ratio out of players who have played at least 30 games.

Having one of the best floor generals in the game in Paul and using two other reliable ball-handlers will prove to be of value come playoff time.

With possessions being lower in the playoffs due to the slower pace of play, turnovers are unaffordable. Every possession will matter for the Suns throughout the playoffs. Being able to rely upon Paul, Payne and Carter to take care of the ball will pay off big time.

Phoenix Suns’ No. 3 stat: Offensive rating and defensive rating

They say a good offense can always beat a good defense, but why not have both? The Suns are seventh in offensive rating at 115.4 and fifth in defensive rating at 108.9.

With Devin Booker and Paul bringing the firepower to the offense, the Suns will have no issues scoring. Especially in clutch time, the star backcourt will be able to hit tough shots.

On the defensive end, it is clear that the Suns can consistently get stops. Utilizing strong wings such as Jae Crowder, Mikal Bridges and Torrey Craig will be helpful.

Then there is Paul to command the defense. Controlling the defense with his vocal leadership, it is safe to say the Suns are in good hands.

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