In part one there was some significance to the numbers 0-9 for the Phoenix Suns this season. Numbers do not win or end arguments, but add value to a point and with them on their own anyone can interrupt them how they deem fitting for the team.
This season there are a few numbers that may define the team before the opening tip against the Trail Blazers right before Halloween.
A lot of the numbers might induce fear and be a bit of a fright. What do the numbers say about the team in respect to their shooting ability? Or their team age? Where should the over/under be set for the team? What are the odds they break through and win the west or even the NBA Championship?
Let's paint by numbers:
24.7 Team Composite Age
The Suns are not the youngest team in the NBA, but in that bottom third as they try and inject youth into the roster while rebuilding. It is not about how many young players you have on the roster. It is easy to log-jam the depth chart with kids, it is more about their position on the roster. The Suns have, and most would agree with this statement, the core of their future all under 25 years old today. With the Morris Twins (24), Eric Bledsoe (23), Alex Len (20), and Archie Goodwin (19) the team has four players that are young, talented, and in some capacity are going to determine the future of the team going forward.
The Pelicans have found a wealth of young talent that they are building around in Anthony Davis (20), Al-Farouq Aminu (22), Tyreke Evans (23), Jrue Holiday (23), Eric Gordon (24), and Ryan Anderson (25) with a promising future. Same for the Cavaliers with Kyrie Irving (21), Dion Waiters (21), Tristan Thompson (22), and other supporting pieces like 2013 No. 1 Overall Pick Anthony Bennett (19), Sergey Karasev (19), and Tyler Zeller (23). They have promise with proven talent in Irving and Davis, which is the one element that the Suns have not quiet found.
Youth does not always equal winning and success. The average age of the 16 playoff teams in 2013 was 27.1 years old. There were young teams that found transcendent talent that would not be defined by age, but for the most part it is a process of gathering youth, shaping it, and then focusing it on winning the ultimate prize.
The Suns are in the gathering stage.
26.07 Composite Three-Point Shooting (33.19 Minus Non-Three-Point Shooters)
Either way, both of those percentages would be good for worst in the NBA based on last year's team three-point percentages. The Minnesota Timberwolves shot 30.5% from three as a team which would be otherworldly compared to shooting under 30% that the Suns could easily end up shooting.
Only four teams since the turn of the century have shot the ball under 30% from three for a season from the 2000-2001 Golden State Warriors (29.3%), to the 2001-2002 Philadelphia76ers (29.9%), the 2002-2003 Denver Nuggets (27.8%), and most recently, the 2011-2012 Charlotte Bobcats (29.5%). The Suns could join that morose and dejected group.
Those percentages are skewed to an extent with the big men on the roster with their lack of shooting acumen. Taking the forwards and centers out of the equation and focusing on the nine perimeter players that will take the bulk of the perimeter shots, and well, the numbers are a touch better.
As a collective unit the perimeter has a composite career three-point shooting percentage of 31.48% with Gerald Green, 35.1%, being the closest thing to a marksman.
No player on the roster is a known three-point shooter. Goran Dragic (35.0%) and Eric Bledsoe (30.8%) are elusive play-makers that excel in transition or attacking the rim. Neither are shooters, much like the passing and play-making specialist Kendall Marshall (31.4%). Those three will have the ball in their hands to make plays every night. They will be setting up the wings like Shannon Brown (33.2%), Gerald Green (35.1%), P.J. Tucker (31.4%), and Archie Goodwin (26.6%).
With this generation there are very few natural big men as most drift out to the perimeter and want to shoot the ball like the guards. The Suns have a few of those in Channing Frye (39.0%), Markieff Morris (34.1%), and Marcus Morris (35.2%) as big men capable of stepping out and hitting jump shots.
Those three shot the ball better than the perimeter group at 36.1% as a collective unit. The Suns will not be a team that relies on the long-ball in 2013-2014, but minimizing that weakness will be a key to being a competitive team.
26.6 Composite Wins (22.9 Minus Channing Frye)
You heard it here first. If the over/under for the Phoenix Suns is set at 26.5 then you better take the over because they are going to with 26 games and get credit for two thirds of another this season.
Then again, if Frye is not 100% or playing a full 82 games at the level of play he can play at then this team is much different.
Odds are that the Suns are going to struggle and that means a minimal amount of wins. Finishing in the neighborhood of 22-26 wins is likely good enough to be in a position to repeat as the worst team in the west (25 wins) again and close to the worst team in the NBA (20 wins) leading up to the most anticipated NBA Draft Lottery in 11 years.
Coming into last season the writing was on the wall for the Suns to be at the bottom of the standings. Their composite Win Shares coming into the season was 28.0 (add in Marshall at it was closer to 32.5) which was only off by three games. Imagine that. If the window is three wins off the Suns window should be between 19.9-29.6 wins this season.
Take that for what it is worth.
125/1 Odds To Win The Western Conference
Speaking of odds, this should not come as a shock, but they are not in the favor of the Suns this year. They have the lowest odds to win the west and, by quite a margin, they are expected to be the worst team in the conference.
That means that one thing is for certain and that is that the odds makers are confident the Suns are the worst team in the west by a long, wide gap. As certain as they are in where the Suns are positioned in the grand scheme of things, the complex and interchangeable moving pieces at the bottom with the Suns are completely up in the air. There are six teams that could be in that fold either showing the various levels of parity or that there are that many bad teams and no certainty on where they will finish.
300/1 Odds To Win The Championship
The odds remain low, but they are better considering the Suns are not at the bottom of this category. Rightfully so. This season the realistic nature of the Suns winning a Championship is on par with the Michael Sorrentino winning a humanitarian award.
"We can change all that," Channing Frye told BSOTS exclusively. "If we continue to grow, I see guys in there working hard, I don't want to put limits on us."
Internally the team seems to have a pulse on what this year is going to be like, but they are also a competitive unit that is not trying to lose games. Right now they may not have the talent core to chase championships, that is what re-building means, but the team as a whole are not going to roll over and let the rest of the league tickle their belly.
Today the odds and numbers are not in the Suns favor, but they are surviving today to be great, once again, tomorrow and beyond.