4 On-court observations that are defining the Phoenix Suns’ season

Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
3 of 3
Torrey Craig, Phoenix Suns
Torrey Craig, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

4. Miscellaneous Observations

Torrey Craig is an offensive rebounding machine. On the season, he’s averaging 1.9 offensive boards per game. In a recent 10-game window, he’s up to 2.4 per including a game-clinching one in last night’s win. On the season, he’s grabbing 7.8% of the team’s offensive misses, good for a 94th-percentile ranking. Zoom in on the last 10 games, and he’s in the 91st percentile at 7.9%.

The Suns as a team rank seventh in this window, with a rebounding percentage of 30.2%.

Torrey and his extra efforts continue to be key as the Suns stay afloat via “next man up” efforts.

  •  Speaking of the next man up, please notice the efforts and value-added from Damion Lee.

Updated, he’s now:

  • third on the team in fourth-quarter scoring (4.2)
  • second in total fourth-quarter points scored (83)
  • is shooting 59.2/61.1/100 in final frames
  • specifically in the clutch:  53.8% from the field, and 60% from three
  • is a team-leading +3.0 in the clutch
  • +6.3 when they’re tied or behind in the clutch

He’s been one of the team’s best players this season, as well as one of the most efficient, and most consistently ready when called upon.

Look no further than his game-winner to get things going against Dallas on opening night.

This was the instance that’s springboarded a multitude of instances where he’s come through for the team with some elite time on task-ability to give that extra push from an unexpecting source.

His signing in free agency went under the radar, but his addition has been loud as one of the best gems in role players found across the entire league, through the first quarter of play.

The defense has hit a snag in these 10 games, losing some of its luster in effectiveness. Watch for an uptick in effectiveness and efforts on that end of the floor as the Suns see missing players inch closer to returning.

Mikal Bridges is presently averaging a career-best 16.1 points per game, on blistering efficiency (53.4/44.3/87.0), and doing so operating in an evolved manner. Keep an eye on him as he continues to ascend, is featured in an evolved manner, and takes more attempts in the process. He’s also shooting 44.4% on his catch-and-shoot three’s, 46.3% from the corners, and 41.4%(!!!) above the break.

All of those shooting efficiencies from deep are career-best marks. He seems to have subtly tweaked his form and is getting his shots off quicker with a consistent lift to them, whether it’s off the catch or the bounce. Positioning him for yet another mark in ascension as a scorer, specifically. He’s also at 5.4 boards and 3.5 assists per, both of which are career-best paces.

Deandre Ayton, the reigning Western Conference Player of the Week, has been lights out over the last six games, averaging: 19.7 points, 13.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.2 blocks. Past the numbers, his engagement and activity, specifically in the paint offensively and protecting it defensively, have reached a level of sustainability that has yet to be seen this season.

He’s in his best flow, and the team has sought out force-feeding him in ways unique to their operation at times prior, via some double-screening combined with the organic looks inside for him on the roll or in roll-to-post looks. He’s operating in a fun space right now, and the team is feeding off the competitive energy he’s been bringing of late.