The Phoenix Suns have been overcoming adversity and obliterating the NBA this season, even if you don’t hear it from the national media. Monty Williams, in his third season as head coach, has taken a club that went 19-63 just three years ago to the verge of finishing 63-19 or better this season. The Phoenix Suns are 58-14 with 10 games remaining in the season.
Devin Booker personifies the highlights of a Suns game when you watch ESPN regularly. It’s dull basketball from the point of view of the casual fan. He wraps himself around Deandre Ayton’s screen, finds a place 19 feet from the hoop, leaps into the air, and sinks the jumper. Methodical, efficient, and lethal. It’s not every day that you find yourself exclaiming, “Oh! Let’s run that back! I’ve got to see that highlight again!”
That is the Phoenix Suns’ brand of basketball, however. They lull you to death with execution. It might not make SportCenter’s Top 10, but it is devastating to defend.
The team is currently on pace to win 66 games, a feat only accomplished by 17 other teams in the 75-year history of the NBA. The road ahead of the Suns is hard; the combined record of the teams remaining on their schedule is 356-292 (.549) and many of those teams are fighting for playoff seeding and to avoid the play-in game. But the fact that the Suns are on that pace is worthy of recognition.
Another interesting fact about the 2021-22 Phoenix Suns’ domination is that, if the chips fall right this week, the team will be the first to reach 60 victories this season. This would be the case if they beat the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday and the Denver Nuggets on Thursday.
In the same breath, they could be the first team to win 60 games before any team in the NBA has won 50 games. The Memphis Grizzlies, who currently sit at 49-23, have a shot at 50 wins if they defeat the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday. They follow that game up with a game against the Indiana Pacers on Thursday. The 47-24 Golden State Warriors, if they win their three games this week against the Orlando Magic, Miami Heat, and Atlanta Hawks, could have 50 wins by Friday.
Which brings me to my next dominating statistic:
No one talks about the Suns dominance. No one. https://t.co/t3W2TMKgPz— John Voita (@DarthVoita) March 22, 2022
That statistic is worth five minutes of SportsCenter’s time on its own (or an entire article written by yours truly). Consider that for a moment. It has been since the Reagan administration that a team in the NBA has been so far ahead of the competition and so dominant.
This isn’t due to a lack of tough competition, bad luck with injuries, or avoiding COVID. This season, the Phoenix Suns have been faced with the same — if not more – injuries and time off than the average NBA team. Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and Deandre Ayton, the team’s big three, have played together in only 32 of the team’s 72 games this season. So, the next time a local Lakers fan reminds you that Anthony Davis has missed time, you can easily counter with that statistic.
NBA injury plot. Games missed by injured players and health protocols versus team wins. Bubble size represents cumulative quality of players lost for games (Lost-ws metric) https://t.co/d2Ppwude6v pic.twitter.com/M4K49REJAJ— Man Games Lost NBA (@ManGamesLostNBA) March 18, 2022
Yet still, the Suns are rolling through their NBA schedule in an impressive fashion.
Another example of dominance is where the Suns could finish this season in relation to the record of the closest teams. The Suns now lead the Western Conference and all of basketball by nine games. They might complete the season with a more than eight-game lead over the NBA’s second-best team.
This hasn’t happened since the Los Angeles Lakers of 1999-2000. That club finished 67-15, eight games ahead of the Portland Trailblazers, headed by Scottie Pippen, who had the league’s second best record. That’s right, we haven’t seen a club dominate the league like the Phoenix Suns have since Shaq and Kobe.
The @Suns are on pace to end the season with at least an 8-game lead over any other team in the @NBA.— Suns JAM Session Podcast (@SunsJAM) March 22, 2022
It's been done 10 times & not in 21 years:
But who cares, right? Isn’t it irrelevant unless you win the chip? The ultimate goal, of course, is to win a championship. The Phoenix Suns, on the other hand, recognize the importance of celebrating small successes during the season. This was a squad that was ecstatic to have their coaching staff attend the All-Star game as a result of their efforts.
This is a team that probably has 62-20 (the franchise-best record) circled on the locker room whiteboard.
“Good to know,” Booker said with a smile when reminded recently of the Suns best record. My guess is Book knew it very well. Chris Paul said earlier this year the Suns want to beat all the franchise bests this year.
They know who they are and where they fit into the Phoenix Suns’ history. They aspire to break that record as well. You can bet that this team is eager to maintain its dominance and utilize the lack of respect as fuel for the fire.
You have my respect, Suns, for I recognize the historic ass kicking you’re putting on the league.