What a week, right?
The season is a little over a quarter old for the Phoenix Suns (14-9), not quite the 25 game sample most look for, but enough time has passed to strip some of the general assumptions about the team from the pre-season.
Over the past five games the team has went from 9-9 and going through some of the growing pains of being better than expected too early.
Since then they have been on a roll. It has been two full seasons since the Suns have been on a roll like they are right now winning five games in a row and 9 of the last 12 since a season worst four game losing streak. The team is coming together to play behind the great team oriented basketball behind the dynamic duo of Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic, more on them below.
This week has been momentous for the Suns as they are sweeping through the Pacific Division after a bumpy start against them. One way to get into the playoffs is to take care of the division. As meaningless as divisions are these days the Suns are marching up to the current leaders, the Los Angeles Clippers (16-9), despite not facing off against them yet.
With a fully healthy roster this team is proving to be very tough to match-up with because of the effort on the offensive and defensive end. They are clearly a more athletic group than last year, which can not be talked about enough.
The athleticism is most relative with the two-headed monster that attacks the rim in Bledsoe and Dragic. They create the opportunities for the shooters, Gerald Green, Channing Frye, and the Morrii, completing what is becoming one of the more versatile offenses in the league.
51.0% and 51.1%
What are these percentages you ask?
In the past five games those are the shooting numbers for Dragic and Bledsoe, or as some have dubbed them, Dragon Blade. The duo has been scoring the ball and attacking the other team relentlessly, which makes the efficiency just that much more impressive.
Dragic: 22.8 PPG 3.0 APG 537% FG 54.1% 3PT
Bledsoe: 21.1 PPG 7.8 APG 48.6% FG 47.6% 3PT
Pretty efficient from the two as they are just scratching the surface at just how good they can be playing off of one another in the offense.
Quote of the Week
Biggest surprise this year for me: how well Dragic & Bledsoe have meshed together. A 2-pronged attack night after night, so effective. -- Bill Simmons on the Suns via Twitter
2014 NBA Draft Update
Surrogate Watch continues and the Suns have two first round picks with the current projections, none of which are in the lottery. A slight change of pace from pre-season projections. Here is the update on how the three picks look right now:
Washington Wizards (9-13) -- No. 9 Overall (Pick stays in Washington based on Protections) Someone has to get a lottery pick, right? The Wizards continue to stockpile lottery picks here adding Indiana freshman Noah Vonleh to an already full roster of young prospects.
Minnesota Timberwolves (12-12) -- No. 12 Overall (Pick stays in Minnesota based on Protections) One position the T-Wolves have struggled to fill has always been at the two guard spot, where freshman Wayne Selden of Kansas lands here.
Phoenix Suns (13-9) -- No. 23 Overall (Pick stays in Phoenix based on Protections) The further and further the Suns slip here the higher they move up in the playoff standings. Good, right? Best player available reads as Wisconsin sophomore Sam Dekker.
Indiana Pacers (20-3) -- No. 30 Overall (Pick goes to Phoenix based on Protections) Best player available mode here as the Suns add Serbian point guard Vasilije Micic to the fold. Might be a draft and stash here to preserve a roster spot, while adding a quality back-up point guard for the future.
News & Notes
Previewing the Week Ahead:
Wednesday, December 18th vs. San Antonio Spurs (19-4)
Friday, December 20th @ Denver Nuggets (14-9)
Saturday, December 21st vs. Dallas Mavericks (14-10)
If the winning streak was the Suns statement that they have arrived, then this week will be a test to see how well they can stick around. All three match-ups will be against playoff teams and with two out of three at home they will have that advantage. Winning two out of three puts the Suns at 16-10, 3-0 at 17-9, and worst case if they fall back down to reality either 15-11 or 14-12.
This season the Suns are 0-1 against the Spurs, 1-0 against the Nuggets and have not played the Mavericks to date.