3 numbers that explain the Phoenix Suns' change in fortunes

The Phoenix Suns have turned a corner to start the New Year, and there are three numbers that explain the reason they've gotten back to winning ways perfectly.

Portland Trail Blazers v Phoenix Suns
Portland Trail Blazers v Phoenix Suns / Chris Coduto/GettyImages
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1. 14.6

The Suns were supposed to be a great offensive team, which is why the previous two numbers have been a welcome, but also somewhat expected, change of pace now that this roster is mostly healthy. Which makes the 14.6 nat rating the team have had over the last four games by far the most impressive number of all right now.

This has again been built on their offensive play, which during that period has ranked third (123.2), but it is on the other end where unexpected gains have been made. As a result of the team's 108.7 defensive rating - the fourth best mark in the league - the Suns have a league leading net rating of 14.6 throughout their win streak.

The belief for this team has long been that scoring wouldn't be a problem, but that they would struggle to contain opponents who were even ok offensively themselves. The Suns have beaten the Houston Rockets, Charlotte Hornets, Magic and Trail Blazers recently, which admittedly is hardly a whose who of star players and scoring threats throughout the league.

But you can only beat what is in front of you, and in fact in the same four game span, the Hornets have the second best 3-point shooting percentage from deep (43.2 percent), while the Magic have the fifth ranked defensive rating (110.9) of any team all season. It's hardly a seven game series against the Denver Nuggets as a sample size, but it is encouraging stuff from this group.

Next. Suns have the assets to trade for two-time former All-Star center. Suns have the assets to trade for two-time former All-Star center. dark

Of all of the positive numbers the organization can point to during this period, this is the one they need to maintain as much as possible. Beal has only played nine games all season, and already there is a difference offensively when he is out there with Booker and Durant. Continue to show improvement on the defensive end, and the Suns may enter true contender status again.