Phoenix Suns Player Grades Through First Quarter of 2021-22 Season

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Early returns suggest the Phoenix Suns are every bit of the contending team they were last season…and more.

The words of their peers in that realm certainly support this. Also now over a quarter way through the season, the Suns sit tied for the league’s best record at 20-4.

With their chemistry and player development on full display, their foundation to start this season looks more robust than everyone else’s, with exception to the Golden State Warriors. This proves the Suns were no fluke last year, now embodying an even stronger team, made evident by their 18-game win streak, which came as a direct response to a lethargic 1-3 start.

Coming into the season, I had the Suns finishing with 57 wins. But they now find themselves on pace for 68, and FiveThirtyEight projects them to finish with the league’s best record at 58-24. In light of all that, I will up my previous prediction of 57 to 62 wins for this team.

Thus far, the Suns have had their fair share of memorable moments as well. Their fourth quarter finish against the Minnesota Timberwolves certainly jumps out as an already satisfying win to look back on, as it illustrated Devin Booker and Chris Paul’s clutch instincts.

Booker and Paul rank 14th in clutch scoring, averaging 3.3 points per game. Booker finds himself shooting a league-best 73.3 percent from the field and 60.0 percent from deep during these situations as well. Paul trails right behind him, shooting 64.7 percent from the field.

Even through all 24 games played thus far, the Suns rank ninth in offensive efficiency with a 111.4 rating, and third in defensive efficiency with a 104.9 rating. They also own the league’s third best point differential at +6.5, slightly better than last year’s +6.2 mark which also ranked third. For reference, each of the last 10 NBA champions have been top-5 in differential.

With all this considered, grades for everyone involved in this finely tuned Phoenix basketball machine are as follows.