The Phoenix Suns are 5-2 with impressive wins over the Clippers and the 76ers and riding high on a three game winning streak. The team has been excellent so far and there’s plenty of reasons why. The team actually has professional players instead of prospects surrounding star Devin Booker. The addition of Ricky Rubio has opened up the offense and spread the scoring around and head coach Monty Williams had done a terrific job turning this team around.
There’s one part I want to focus on and it’s the energy of this team and how it’s translated to the court. The team has seemingly done a 180-degree turn after multiple lackluster seasons and when you watch the team, you can feel their energy and swagger just oozes off them. Kelley Oubre Jr. is perhaps the clearest example of this with his energetic personality coming to life on the court. He plays hard on both sides and is the clear emotional leader of the team, leading the #Valleyboyz in their mosh pit antics. The team is filled with hard-nose, gritty, high energy players like Mikal Bridges and Aron Baynes who can translate it into tough defensive plays. Last year, the Suns were awful defensively, ranking 29th in defensive rating with 114.2 but now, they’re one of the best in the league, ranking sixth with 100.9. It could slip a bit with more games but the fact the team is playing so well is insane.
It’s not just the defense that’s contaminated with this energy, the offense has it as well. Their hard play on the defensive side has created plenty of turnovers and these lead to fastbreak which lead to points. The team is currently fourth in the league with 19.1 turnovers by their opponents and sixth in percent of points off the fast break with 14.4%. Even when the Suns aren’t forcing turnovers, the team has been more active on the offensive side. Last year, Booker was expected to do everything for the team but now with Rubio, the entire team has been involved in the scoring barrage, with 67.4% of points coming off assists, best in the league. The Suns aren’t breaking offensive or defensive records, nor is their pace that much different from last year but the combination of all of this has led to the rebirth of Phoenix. The team isn’t making stupid mistakes that lead to turnovers, they’re playing hard and as a unit and they got a head coach who’s captializing on their potential.
The way the Suns have played so far this year is truly a sight for sore eyes, especially when those eyes belong to Suns fans. The team is having fun, they’re playing brilliant basketball and their energy is contagious. It isn’t just the starters as the bench players are giving their all every play. For years, the Suns fanbase has been tortured by an ameic team that couldn’t get out of its own way to be competent but now, they’ve become one of the most enjoyable teams to watch. And they’re currently in third place in the Western Conference.
What a time to be alive.