NBA Power Rankings: Suns Moving on Up

If these guys continue to play well, the Suns will keep climbing the rankings and standings.

Power rankings in the NBA are merely points of debate and chatter since the ultimately meaningful decisions about which teams are better and best are made on the court. It just so happens that debate and chatter are what we do around these here parts, so let's look at a few of the power rankings of NBA experts to see where the Suns stand, after the jump.

ESPN's Marc Stein has the Suns climbing four spots from last week, from #13 to #9. The Suns have spent seven of the 13 weeks of the season so far ranked lower than #20, bottoming out at #27 after their woeful week 1. This week's ranking is their first in Stein's top 10. Writes Stein:

The Suns still haven't figured out that they have no business challenging for a playoff spot out West, moving to 11-4 since the All-Star break (second only to Chicago's 13-2 mark) and seeing Nash record his 10th 15-assist game in a win in Indy ... more than twice as many as No. 2 in line, Rajon Rondo (four).

Sort of a typical backhanded compliment of the Suns from ESPN, no? It's as if Stein hates to admit that the Suns are actually a pretty good team right now, but at least he does admit it, so there's that. He has the Suns as the No. 5 team in the West.

John Hollinger's more stat-driven rankings have the Suns at #15, up from #18, and Hollinger gives the Suns a 37.5% chance of making the playoffs. The Suns are given a 0.4% chance to win the NBA championship, and a 0.4% chance to win the lottery as well. For those who hate "no man's land", the Suns sit squarely in the middle of it according to Hollinger's math.

SB Nation's Tom Ziller is closer to Hollinger's outlook on the Suns, taking the team's entire body of work into account and ranking them at #15.

The Suns are truly hovering on the outside of the West playoff race. They are the only team who hasn't spent a cup of coffee or longer in the No. 8 spot. They are just waiting ... and waiting ...

At least he ranks the Suns ahead of the Nuggets and Rockets, with whom the Suns are fighting for the eighth playoff spot, as he has the Suns in that final playoff spot he mentions they haven't reached yet this season.

Finally, we have NBA.com's John Schuhmann, who has the Suns ranked at #10 overall and #5 in the West.

Steve Nash has now recorded 15 or more assists 10 times this season. But for the second straight year, the Suns have been downright awful, getting outscored by 9.4 points per 100 possessions, when Nash steps off the floor. Even if they keep Nash this summer, they still need to sign another point guard.

It should be noted that all four of these analysts have the Suns in the top eight of the Western Conference, a playoff team. These rankings are only a snapshot, and the Suns are certainly riding high right now.

The question is: are they hitting their stride, and will they continue to perform like the 11-4 team they've been since the All-Star break? Or will the upcoming stretch of games against quality opponents doom them to remain a game or two around .500? I hate to even mention what an injury to a starter would do to the Suns' chances, when they've had such remarkably good health so far this season.

Overall, I think the team's entire body of work puts them closer to the #15 Hollinger and Ziller have the Suns at. What say you, Suns fans?

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