So the Suns are good! Phoenix has already surpassed most win predictions FOR THE SEASON. It has to be a little weird for fans expecting to be in talks for the number one pick. There is a feeling for some in the Bobcat fan community, thanks to Charlotte being in the East, that the team might be just good enough to miss out on elite draft prospects. Are most Suns fans on board for this unexpected roll or is there a feeling that they need to be int the mix for a great player coming in the draft?
Earlier in the season I would say there was some confusion on how to handle the unexpected success, but at this point it feels like most Suns fans are all in on this season. That doesn't mean they want to see them trade all their young assets and draft picks in a shortsighted move, just an acceptance of the team legitimately being good. The belief has swung to getting another high-level player to help them long term through a trade or free agency instead of the draft.
The Morris twins certainly seem to excel when playing on the same team. Are they seen as a complete package deal in Phoenix right now?
While the Morris brothers are playing well, I'm not sure if they're a part of the future. Both of them are restricted free agents after next season and depending on what happens this offseason could be tough to retain if you want to keep maximum roster flexibility. It looks like the Suns will have four draft picks in this draft and another two in 2015 so there will have to be roster turnover. The Morris brothers make sense as movable pieces.
Steve Clifford has done an amazing job in Charlotte, but Jeff Hornacek is doing an equally amazing job for the Suns. What has he implemented as head coach?
What Jeff Hornacek has done with this roster has been incredible. You can argue every player is playing better than they did last year. The internal player development plus implementing a smarter offensive and defensive system has helped lead to the increased success.
Phoenix plays at a fast pace, takes smart shots (12th most attempts per game in restricted area, 8th least from mid range, 2nd most corner threes and 5th most above the break threes), and defend the areas you want to take away as well.
The Suns allow the third most shots in the restricted area (would assume this is partially pace based), but have the 10th best opponent field goal percentage. They only allow 4.4 corner threes per game
Hornacek knows what he is doing.
Miles Plumlee acts as the anchor of the defense and helps initiate the offense. According to SportVU he is within five feet of shots being attempted at the rim 9.9 times per game, which is tied for third most in the NBA. Opponents are shooting 48% in those attempts. To give you an idea of how good that is Dwight Howard allows 47% shooting in the shots when he is within five feet in the same situations.
On offense he is often used as the pick man for Goran Dragic pick and rolls. If a score doesn't result directly by him or Dragic, the pressure the two of them create is a large reason Phoenix is able to attempt the second most shots from deep in the league.
Gerald Green can be on the benefitting end of those looks. He is attempting 8.2 three pointers per 36 minutes, Green's career average per 36 is 5.7. His three-point shooting percentage is a stout 37.6% and has been on a torrid streak the past three games. During this stretch Green is averaging 23 points on 57.5% shooting and he's nailed 10-14 from behind the arc.
Eric Bledsoe was electric early in the season but has only played in 24 games for the Suns and now faces 4-6 weeks out with knee surgery. Do you think the Suns will do all they can to keep his services this offseason?
I really hope so. It might be a little bit unconventional, but Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic together was dynamic. In the 457 minutes the two have played together the Suns have an ORtg of 106.6 per 100 possessions and a DRtg of 98.5. They take pressure off each other on the offensive end and have enough size and strength to guard both position on defense.
The injury Bledsoe is dealing with, despite being a concern because it's the second time the same knee has been operated on, shouldn't be a huge issue until later in his career. Since his next contract will most likely only be for four years it's not something I would concern myself with at this point.
Thanks to Bryan for shedding light on the Suns....I say SHEDDING LIGHT ON THE SUNS....anyway, a serious big thanks to him. Check out Bright Side of the Sun on the web and follow them on twitter at @BrightSideSun the rest of the way.