Especially at the NBA level, the defensive arts never seem to attain the high praise which they whole heartedly deserve. Infatuated with the difference between “hoopers” and “basketball players,” rather than hard-nosed ball stoppers, fans struggle to appreciate this more gritty side of the game.
It feels like a true shame, especially for a team like the Phoenix Suns, built to bother their opponents at the defensive end as good as anyone right now. Last year, Phoenix allowed the seventh fewest opponent points per game, which allowed them to put up the sixth best overall defensive rating.
The 2021-22 Suns greatly reflect that team which frustrated its opponents extensively, with almost all its players set to return. Coming into the mix, a few other pieces hopped on board this offseason as well, certain to assist the team in its defensive prowess.
The Suns indeed lost Jevon Carter this summer, who despite averaging just 3.1 minutes per game during the postseason, still applied regular season relief off the bench as a pesky defender at the top of the key. Torrey Craig comes as the other notable subtraction, who served well at the defensive end as a wing stopper or occasional small-ball center.
But with Monty Williams at the helm, we fully expect Phoenix’s additions to pick up what those guys left behind, and help put together a tough unit at the floor’s other end. With those players considered, as well as the main cast coming back from last year, defensive rankings for the entire 2021-22 Suns team go as follows.