Diving into the Phoenix Suns’ first-month rankings for 2022-23 season

Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

One month into the season, the Phoenix Suns are currently the second seed in the Western Conference and 4th-best overall in the league. There could also be an argument for 1st seed if the referee correctly called the travel on Jerami Grant’s recent game-winner.

So far there’s nothing to complain about their standing relative to what has already happened. They’re missing key players in Chris Paul, Cameron Johnson, and Jae Crowder, and the Suns still boast a 9-5 record. Take note that those three of the most important players for them last season.

Where do the Suns stack up compared to the rest of the league? As of November 17th, they are ranked 3rd in both offensive and defensive ratings at 115.5 and 108.9, respectively. They are the only team in the league that’s in the top three in both categories. The Suns also boast a net rating of 6.7 (2nd).

A look into the Phoenix Suns’ rankings

For other team stats, here is where they currently rank:

30.3 OREB% (10th)

Compared to last season’s 26.4 OREB% (21st), this has been a big area of need for Phoenix. They are an efficient first-chance offense but not much of a second-chance offense, which was their downfall when shots weren’t falling. Gang rebounding has been key so far this season.

70.9 DREB% (19th)

This is where DeAndre Ayton’s career-low rebounding numbers are felt most. With Torrey Craig in the starting lineup, this should be higher but unexpectedly, Ayton hasn’t carried his fair share.

13.7 TOV% (7th)

This is still an elite number but, as you’d expect, the Suns ranked 4th last season. This drop is expected with Chris Paul out.

54.4 EFG% and 58 TS% (12th)

The Suns ranked 4th and 5th respectively in both categories last season but with basically the same numbers. Some teams just have insane shooting numbers like the Kings’ 153 points against the Brooklyn Nets. It will even out as the season progresses.

97.63 PACE (26th)

Surprisingly, they are one of the bottom-ranking teams in this stat, which is not expected without Chris Paul. You would’ve thought they would play faster. This could possibly be seen as a good sign as they are executing their offense better in the half-court.

.233 FTA Rate (26th)

The Suns have improved since last season. Devin Booker has traded some of his mid-range attempts into drives to the rim but Ayton’s already paltry 2.5 Career FTA has gotten lower, as he’s averaging a career-low 1.7 FTA. Truly abysmal for a big man.

An assessment after month one

Devin Booker has been playing at a high level at both ends of the floor since the season started.

Mikal Bridges has stepped up offensively and is averaging career highs across the board. He has filled the void that Ayton was supposed to take while also being the best defender on the team.

The bench, which was expected to be weaker coming into the season, has been really great defensively. The offense of Damion Lee, Jock Landale, and Duane Washington has been good enough.

Cameron Payne has once again stepped up admirably amidst the absence of Chris Paul.

There isn’t much to complain about the team outside of the injuries and the play of Ayton. So far, his best numbers this season were when he was playing with Cameron Johnson. So there’s still hope that when Cam returns, Ayton plays better again.

Grading the Suns so far

Relative to what has happened, I would give the Phoenix Suns a grade of A for still being one of the top teams in the entire league despite the injuries of key players, the absence of Jae Crowder, and the lackluster play of Ayton.