On the plus side, the Phoenix Suns have not lost any games by 40+ points this year!
Last year, by November 16 they had lost 11 games total, six of them by 13+ points, including two by 40+ and another by 26. They would already set a league futility record for being the first team to lose by 93 total points in their first three games, fired their coach and dismissed their starting point guard from the team.
So why does this year’s first month of the season seem even worse?
Because this year, the Suns entered the season with the promise of better talent and a better coach, yet have fewer wins to offset their 11th loss (2 vs. 5) and have lost eight of those games by a non-competitive 17 or more points, including one against Wednesday’s opponent — the hated Spurs — by 30 points.
The Suns are statistically worse so far this season than last season’s franchise-worst start.
After 13 games last year, the Suns offensive rating was 100.5 (26th overall) while their defensive rating was 110.3 (29th overall). Under interim coach Jay Triano, they reeled off four wins in five games in the middle bookend losing streaks against the lottery-bound Kings and Nets, but also the playoff-bound Wizards and Jazz.
This year, after 13 games, the Suns’ offensive rating is a bit worse at 100.3 (30th overall) while their defensive rating is worse too at 113.5 (27th). Worse than last year on both ends, but with the new “freedom of movement” rules the Suns ranks among their peers vary slightly.
But hey, at least they haven’t lost any of this year’s games by more than 30 points, let alone last year’s season-opening 48 point debacle, right?
In fact, this year’s opening game was a complete reversal — a thrilling, statement-making 21-point win over the conference rival Dallas Mavericks and their own exciting young rookie who some thought should have gone #1 overall.
Fans feel like this year’s team is so much more disappointing for many reasons.
Last year’s team was SUPPOSED to lose as many games as possible (though not by 40+), while this year’s team was billed as “TIME TO RISE”.
Last year’s team was still trying to find it’s core for the future around young star guard Devin Booker, while this year’s team supposedly HAS that core in place with top overall pick Deandre Ayton and a pair of other lottery picks in Mikal Bridges and Josh Jackson.
Last year’s team had coaching issues, while this year we all heard how Igor Kokoskov is the best coach the Suns have had since Alvin Gentry, the last coach to take the team to the playoffs.
No rising has been seen as of yet.
Players are frustrated with themselves and each other. Coaches and players are at odds over scheme and decision-making. The coach is calling out players’ effort levels — the players don’t disagree, however, they are mostly nodding toward their teammates’ effort levels and not their own.
And off the court, the front office is still seen as dysfunctional after firing their General Manager nine days before the season began and still failing to address the Suns’ obvious point guard issues.
If the Suns are going to rise from these ashes, they have to stop re-stoking the fire.