Phoenix Suns Winning Streaks: A Statistical Analysis

Admit it. You've been laying awake at night wonder what's so different between the Phoenix Suns current winning streak, the mid-season slump, and the early season run.

Now you can finally get some rest. After you read on...

Basic Facts:

  • Streak 1 lasted the first 17 games of the season from October 28th to November 29th. The Suns went 14 and 3 which included 11 road games
  • The Slump lasted 30 games from December 1st to January 27th. The Suns went 12 and 18 and had 13 road games
  • Streak 2 currently has lasted 16 games from January 28th to March 3rd. The Suns have gone 13 and 3 which includes 9 road games.

Here's the fancy chart that you've been waiting for to make your life complete. You are welcome.

And yes, if you click it, it will grow bigger..

Win_streak_stats_pic_medium

Key Findings:

  • The Suns pace has dropped during this latest win streak from about 98.5 down to 95.7
  • The Suns defensive efficiency was horrible during the slump (111.2) but is now 104.6 which is about 16th in the league
  • The Suns opponent FG% has improved steadily throughout the season from 46% during the 1st win streak, to 45.6% during the slump to 45.1% during the current streak
  • The 45.1% opponent field goal percentage during the current 16 game streak is good for about 9th in the league
  • During the first winning streak the Suns were about even in total rebounds and -2.59 in offensive rebounds
  • During the current winning streak the Suns are +6.38 in total rebounds and +.44 in offensive rebound.
  • The best rebounding team in the league for the season is Cleveland at +4.40 total rebound differential
  • The change in rebounding performance is by far the biggest difference between early in the season and now
  • As a result of rebounding better, the Suns have gone from -6.41 in FGA's per game to -2.4
  • During the first winning streak the Suns were shooting 44.5% from three. During the slump and current streak they are shooting about 39% from three
  • During the first winning streak the Suns were giving up 104.5 ppg and were +7.47 in ppg. During this streak they are giving up 100.1 and are +8.06
  • The Suns FG% during the current streak is about 1% less than during the first streak
  • During the 1st winning streak the Suns were taking ~7% more of their total shots from behind the arc. Now they are taking about 5% more of their shots withing 10 feet. This the Robin Lopez effect

Shot_location_chart_medium

Conclusions

Out of the gate the Suns were shooting red hot from three and they were one of the fastest teams in the league. The defense during that time was decent and the rebounding good enough. It was a streak fueled by offense.

When the outside shooting cooled off (as it had to) the Suns continue to play fast and they tried to regain their offensive mojo but as a result of more missed shots their defense got worse as their offensive rebounding woes worsened and they gave up more second chance points. The Suns were still improving in their half court field goal percentage defense but as the rebounding got worse they simply couldn't keep up and ended up with a losing record.

Now the Suns are shooting fewer three's but are still very good in the half court and lead the league in offensive efficiency. During the current win streak, the defensive efficiency is now around league average and the rebounding is among the best in the league. The only thing keeping the Suns from being a better defensive team is the high turnover rate combined the very poor turnovers forced.

Now, go get some sleep already!

 

Special Thanks to Tom Haberstroh from the great site, Hoop Data. Not only did Hoop Data provide a lot of the information used (as did Basketball-reference.com and NBA.com) but Tom responded quickly to a question I had AND showed me a REALLY cool trick for getting and using data from the web. Thanks, Tom. I owe a few beers when you come to town! Or girls. Your choice.

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