The Rising of the Phoenix Suns

By DeArbea Walker

 

Sacrifice is one of the defining actions to winning. The Phoenix Suns seize a 8-11 start and have grasped the concept of sacrifice quicker in comparison to the better teams in their division such as the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Clippers, and are looking (a little bit) like the Suns of old.

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The term “sacrifice for your brother” is always associated with winning an NBA Championship. The Golden State Warriors expanded on that when they took team basketball to another level. Pieces of that formula are being translated to the Suns personale.

Personale plays a huge role in “who you are as a team”. The Suns are taking a similar approach to the Warriors by having a strong ball handling and shooting backcourt. By acquiring Brandon Knight at the beginning of the year, it allows Eric Bledsoe to play off the ball leading to free open looks at the basket thus an easier free flowing offense. In this situation, because of the direction the league is headed, having two true point guards on the floor that can shoot the ball well will be an asset this season, especially since the Suns were one of the league’s worst shooting teams (particularly beyond the arch) during the 2014-2015. You can never compare facets of the Suns offense with the forceful offense in Golden State especially when Golden State has arguably the game’s best shooter ever, but the similarities of ball movement and ability to operate openly are there.

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The Suns ability to sign veteran free agents will help the franchise flip the script from last season. Tyson Chandler, even though he is heading into his final seasons in the league, still is one the elite centers currently playing. The Suns last season were ranked 17th in the league for defensive efficiency, and struggled particularly in their frontcourt… and… this offseason it was immediately addressed. Tyson Chandler doesn’t just bring a defensive presence to this team; he brings championship habits and experiences to his younger teammates but also the Suns franchise. His defensive dominance around the rim is similar to the Clippers, DeAndre Jordan, which allows the team to utilize the pick and role effectively and play “ inside out” with Chandler in the middle.

The team has an appropriate balance of veterans and young talent. The Suns held the number 13th pick in the 2015 NBA draft, and used it to add depth in their backcourt. Devin Booker, Suns 13th over all pick, received 59% of the votes by his peers as the best shooter in his draft class. In addition to Booker, Bledsoe and Knight, the team also has another young talent, Archie Goodwin who is learning what it takes to sacrifice for the betterment of the team, which will be key to make them a playoff team this season.

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Since the departure of Steve Nash, this franchise has not bounced back. The second half of last season was the first time in two years the franchise let go of the lingering effects of the Nash-era and laid the foundation for the next wave of Suns talent. This team is being built from the bottom up through the draft and the acquirement of young players through trades. There are some teams who are built for the now and there are some teams that are built for the future. The Phoenix Suns are built for the future and from the looks of things it should be a very bright future.

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