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Buy the dip? Phoenix Suns’ offense is actually less efficient this year

The Suns’ offense has been less efficient than last year, yet it does not seem to matter in the slightest.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Phoenix Suns Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Since we’ve recently completed roughly one-third of the season, I figured it would be appropriate to measure where the Phoenix Suns’ players and team stack up to last season.

We’ll be taking a look at their efficiency across the board both as a team and individually to see where the largest gaps or differences stand.

Team Numbers

2020-21 — Last Season

  • TS%: 59.7 (3rd in NBA)
  • FG%: 49.0 (2nd in NBA)
  • eFG%: 56.4 (3rd in NBA)
  • FT%: 83.4 (2nd in NBA)
  • 3PFG%: 37.8 (7th in NBA)
  • ORTG: 116.3 (7th in NBA)
  • Pace: 98.0 (24th in NBA)

2021-22 — This Season

  • TS%: 57.0 (5th in NBA)
  • FG%: 47.5 (2nd in NBA)
  • eFG%: 53.8 (4th in NBA)
  • FT%: 79.1 (10th in NBA)
  • 3PFG%: 36.2 (t-7th in NBA)
  • ORTG: 109.9 (9th in NBA)
  • Pace: 100.5 (t-3rd in NBA)

As illustrated by the numbers above, despite their drop-off from a season ago, they are still among the leaders in the NBA offensively. The increase in pace is the most noticeable difference and that could be the reason for a number of dips when it comes to efficiency.

The increased pace also could factor into the lower than usual free-throw numbers, as the team has dropped by over 4% as a whole. It’s also important to note that they were 1st and 2nd in consecutive years at the charity stripe in the first two seasons of the Monty Williams-James Jones era. I expect them to climb back towards the top end of the league in that area sooner than later.

Phoenix is 23-5 so clearly, it isn’t that big of a deal. If anything this should highlight that they have another level they can get to.


The Starters

Now, let’s dive into the players one-by-one and see how they stack up to their numbers last season. For your browsing convenience, I went ahead and bolded the numbers that are better in each category.

Chris Paul

The Point God had a slow start to the season offensively (shooting the ball) but has picked up the pace of late to get himself closer to his typical stellar numbers.

2020-21:

  • TS%: 59.9
  • FG%: 49.9
  • eFG%: 55.7

2021-22:

  • TS%: 57.3
  • FG%: 48.1
  • eFG%: 52.3

Devin Booker

Booker’s shooting percentages have dipped, noticeably in the finishing and mid-range area. He’s taken a leap in three-point percent, bumping it up to a career-high 40.3% from behind the arc.

2020-21:

  • TS%: 58.7
  • FG%: 48.4
  • eFG%: 53.3

2021-22:

  • TS%: 56.3
  • FG%: 45.8
  • eFG%: 52.2

Mikal Bridges

Mikal has seen a dip across the board, and it’s not all that concerning considering how ridiculously efficient he was last season. Some regression was probably expected to be honest because even this form of himself is one of the most efficient wings in the league.

2020-21:

  • TS%: 66.7
  • FG%: 54.3
  • eFG%: 64.3

2021-22:

  • TS%: 62.8
  • FG%: 52.7
  • eFG%: 60.7

Jae Crowder

2020-21:

  • TS%: 57.4
  • FG%: 40.4
  • eFG%: 55.5

2021-22:

  • TS%: 54.5
  • FG%: 40.5
  • eFG%: 52.0

Deandre Ayton

Ayton has had a very slight regression across the board, though still extremely efficient and attempting 2.2 more field goals per game than last season which is encouraging.

2020-21:

  • TS%: 65.3
  • FG%: 61.7
  • eFG%: 62.9

2021-22:

  • TS%: 63.1
  • FG%: 62.1
  • eFG%: 61.9

The Bench

Cam Payne

Payne has seen a major decrease in just about every category this season when it comes to efficiency. Let’s hope he turns it around sooner than later.

2020-21:

  • TS%: 60.2
  • FG%: 48.4
  • eFG%: 57.6

2021-22:

  • TS%: 48.7
  • FG%: 38.7
  • eFG%: 44.0

Cam Johnson

2020-21:

  • TS%: 56.3
  • FG%: 42.0
  • eFG%: 54.1

2021-22:

  • TS%: 57.8
  • FG%: 42.4
  • eFG%: 55.6

The New Guys

JaVale McGee

2020-21:

  • TS%: 54.1
  • FG%: 64.2
  • eFG%: 52.0

2021-22:

  • TS%: 66.6
  • FG%: 64.6
  • eFG%: 64.9

Landry Shamet

2020-21:

  • TS%: 57.8
  • FG%: 40.8
  • eFG%: 54.9

2021-22:

  • TS%: 53.8
  • FG%: 37.8
  • eFG%: 50.5

Buy the dip? Why the dip?

I’m not all that focused on looking at their numbers compared to last year’s team specifically, but rather comparing them to where the rest of the league is at this year due to the league-wide drop-off.

It’s more of a league thing than it is a Suns thing is what I’ve concluded when looking at where the numbers stand around the association. The league as a whole is down offensively in a lot of these categories as well, and that could be due to a myriad of factors including the new ball and rule changes.

This is especially true given they are still sitting near the top of every offensive category despite the dip in their efficiency across the board.

Their increased pace could be a factor along with the new ball and short turnaround. But again, they are 23-5 and it does not seem to be impacting them negatively in any fashion.