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    09/07/2011 10:47 PM
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2013/14 NBA Team Preview: Phoenix Suns

Season Review 2012/13:

Advanced Stats
Numbers
Rank
Pace
93.4
9
Offense
101.2
29
Defense
108.1
23
Rebound
49.8
19

4 Factors
Offense
Numbers
Rank
Defense
Numbers
Rank
eFG%
47.7
23
eFG%
51.2
25
TO%
14.3
26
TO%
14.2
11
Reb%
27.0
14
Reb%
28.1
26
FT%
17.4
27
FT%
20.8
18

Monthly Performance
Record
OffRtg
DefRtg
November
 7-10
105.3
110.2
December
 4-11
106.4
111.3
January
 5-9
99.4
104.7
February
 4-9
97.8
110.1
March
 3-12
99.9
112.2
April
 2-6
106.1
113.9


There’s a reason why Steve Nash won the MVP award twice while in Phoenix and that’s his ability to involve his teammates in the game like nobody else. Even with mediocre teammates around him on his last two seasons with the Suns, Nash was still able to lead the Suns into being a top 10 offense in the league in both years. Last season was Phoenix’s first year of the post-Nash era and they were the second last offensive team in the league.

Defensively, the Suns continued to be an awful defensive team like they were in the previous seasons. Not only they were the worst 3pts defense in the league by allowing 38.8% 3pts, as they were also the third worst defensive team at the paint by allowing 45.6 points in the paint per game.

Offensively the Suns were able to be even worse and only the Wizards were worse on offense last season. In three consecutive months (January to March), the Suns couldn’t even beat the 100 points scored per 100 possessions mark!

The perfect image of the Suns’ last season was Michael Beasley playing 23 minutes per game during the first half of the season, even though he shot 40% FG and showed zero effort on defense!

Eventually, Alvin Gentry left the team after a 13-28 record, being replaced by Lindsey Hunter, who didn’t improve the team’s performances. Phoenix’s roster last season gave no margin to Gentry to turn them into a competitive team. The organization has been a disaster in the draft over the last few seasons and that didn’t change last season with Kendall Marshall looking like another wasted draft pick. 


Offseason Report:

With so little talent on the team, the Suns had an aggressive attitude on the offseason with its goal being the signing of talented young players.

The team’s lack of aggressiveness was quite clear last season and the Suns want to correct that by signing Eric Bledsoe on a 3-team trade. The Suns also drafted Archie Goodwin, who might be one of the surprises of this draft class, as he has impressed the team’s new Head Coach Jeff Hornacek in the preseason.

The team’s frontcourt was also improved with the return of Channing Frye to the league after missing the previous season due a heart issue, while Alex Len was the team’s first choice on this draft (5th pick overall). 



Season Preview:

Apparently, the team’s new Head Coach Jeff Hornacek wants the team to continue to play fast and so, it makes perfect sense that the team’s starting backcourt will be formed by Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic, two players who are very good in transition and have a nice motor.

The chemistry between these two players will be decisive for the team’s evolution. Eric Bledsoe was a nice surprise last season in LA with the Clippers by leading the team’s second unit, but his role wasn’t of a traditional PG. He was some kind of a wild card to be ultra aggressive on both ends of the floor and with the ball on his hands, he simply ran over people. Due to his limited shooting range, I don’t know if Bledsoe will be suited to play at the SG position, but that Hornacek’s initial idea.

Goran Dragic will be together with Marcin Gortat the team’s most talented player and this isn’t exactly good news for the Suns. He had a slow start last season by shooting below 45% FG and 32% 3pts in the first half of the season, but then after the All-Star break, he averaged 9.5 assists per game! With Ish Smith and Kendall Marshall being his backups, the Suns really need that Dragic has a better season if he wants to be one of the team’s leaders.

If the backcourt of the Suns seems limited with just two decent players in Dragic and Bledsoe, what can we say about the frontcourt?

P.J. Tucker and Gerald Green will fight for the starting position of SF with Tucker being the natural first option, as he is more aggressive. On the other hand, the Morris brothers will divide minutes at the PF position. Eventually if Frye manages to be 100% healthy, then he will be the team’s main player at the PF position, but until then the Suns will have to count with the Morris brothers to give the team a lot of hustle and energy, but very little in terms of offensive skills. Curiously both Morris had similar shooting numbers in Phoenix last season: a poor 40% FG!

Marcin Gortat will be the team’s only player to be capable on creating easy points down low and I’m sure that we will talk about him during the trade deadline. He is coming from a down season last year, after having had a career season in the previous year. This wasn’t a surprise as he stopped being fed by Steve Nash between seasons. Sooner or later, rookie Alex Len will start having more minutes in order to improve his game, as the Suns will quickly be out of playoff contention anyway.

Over the last two decades, the Suns were one of the most consistent franchises in the league by keep being competition while rebuilding, but that won’t be the case this season. The Suns are now out of the playoffs for three consecutive seasons, something that didn’t happen with them since 1985-1988, but with the next draft class being so great, Phoenix will be part of the group of teams that will “fight” to have next year’s top pick, as they currently lack the talent to be competitive on this upcoming season.

My name is André Gomes, I’m from Portugal and I am a Professional Handicapper. My sole purpose is to constantly beat the sportsbooks by taking advantage of the evaluation errors they make. It is most... Read more

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