It took discipline to remain calm in the line of fire and to stick with the game plan for the Phoenix Suns Wednesday night against the Milwaukee Bucks. By sticking with the midrange and only taking the open 3 point shot kept shows the Suns are learning from recent mistakes rushing shots to closing the gap within minutes.
The last thing you wanted to see is the Suns trying to out shoot the Bucks from 3. That would have been something that the Suns would do in their past along with a couple technical and maybe an ejection.
Is it because the Suns know they belong now as one of the top teams in the NBA? Maybe. But maybe they realize they have belief in their system and in each other.
ESPN’s Doris Burke couldn’t get over the fact that this Suns team looks different and can see the culture change. Repeatedly bringing up the fact that the organization is heading somewhere good even if it is not there quite yet.
The culture change is a big factor in the on court play by the Suns who stick to each other’s strengths. Even then, you can see players like Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson making more of an effort to take the ball to the rim and play outside of their comfort zone.
Deandre Ayton, who took a wild three point shot against the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this week, was left wide open in the same spot Wednesday night and took the shot. Why? Because he now knows when and where those three should be attempted or not and the team has trust in him. Like the rest of the team, he is understanding when to force the 3 or take a dribble and make the correct pass.
During the Suns run winning seven out of the last eight games, the three point attempts have dipped.
In their last eight games the Suns attempted 11 3’s per game shooting 37% and in the six games prior they have attempted 39.4 3’s per game shooting 32%.
Not only do I notice the Suns dip in three point attempts, but the rest of the roster is showcasing other skills on the court. The evolving offense is showing individual improvements in other areas on the court to make up the lack of 3 point attempts.
These are the little things I notice that make me smile from four of the Suns:
Still attempting a high rate of three-point attempts, is also following in line behind Frank Kaminski who is taking a look ahead and seeing if there is a better option. His quick release is still there and the ability to pump fake and drive needs to improve, but keeping his head up and looking for a better shot for a teammate is improving little by little every game.
The three point percentage is beginning to rise again within the last few games, but the drive to the hoop and the quick fade away is freaking beautiful. What is the one thing that Bridges has over every defender (besides Giannis) is length. The shot is unreachable either on the fade or the layup.
Again, like Cam, the three-point attempts still remain consistent but the way that Booker is making himself known on the court as the leader is beginning to show. A smile here and a high-five there goes a long way. You will probably think I am crazy, but the positivity is catchy with young men watching him every night.
The game was slowed down for Booker after a wild start to the season with turnovers and the inability to play-make. You can see that he has taken care of the mistakes and improved the decision making on the floor.
Fantastic bench guy and couldn’t ask for a more unselfish loyal player cheering on his teammates.
This all plays into the culture and what is expected out of each player. Shooting yourself out of a slump is something that can cost the Suns team wins. Believing that they can beat any team in any circumstance is the next step to prove they are a real top-five team in the NBA.