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The Madhouse - Week of 1/23/17

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Is that a winning streak I see?

NBA: Utah Jazz at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s dispense with the pop culture intro and go straight to the meaty issue of the Phoenix Suns kinda sorta maybe playing good basketball.

For the first half of the season, it looked like the Suns were destined for a high lottery pick no matter what. The team was completely helpless on both sides of the ball with random bursts of individual competency here and there. And then 2017 rolled around.

Since January 1, Phoenix is 5-5 including wins over the San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors and a close game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Devin Booker has 9 consecutive games with at least 20 points and is shooting a blistering 50% from downtown. In his 7th season, Eric Bledsoe appears to be taking his game to another level. In January, he’s averaging 24.0 points, 8.4 assists and 5.2 rebounds per game (vs. 3.1 turnovers per game). Tyson Chandler is playing like a dude worth every penny of his contract, which in turn has led to bigger and more effective minutes from Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender.

There are certainly weak spots (Brandon Knight, the artist formerly known as Tony Buckets, most defensive possessions), but the offense is humming to the tune of having the 7th highest offensive rating in the NBA in January.

This team cannot tank as currently constructed. If the defense comes around even a little bit, this team could find itself near .500 as the season goes on. The question is: is that a beg enough step forward without adding another lottery pick to a core that includes Devin Booker, T.J. Warren, Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender? Or is it another step on the treadmill of mediocrity?

Anyway: Madhouse. Talk about this or whatever you want below!