More photos » P.A. Molumby - NBAE via Getty Images
Ahh-wooooooo! Scared Yet? (Photo by P.A. Molumby/NBAE via Getty Images)
Sure, we're only 3 games into the season. Sure, the sample size is WAY too small to identify any predictable trends.
But we don't have another game till Wednesday night, so we gotta talk about SOMETHING right? And what better to talk about than the Phoenix Suns? Don't worry, I'll answer the question for you right now: nothing.
October is in the books. Happy Halloween!
How did the Suns fare in their first regular season games this month? Well, not so good. Hit the jump.
Let's look at some early data, courtesy of basketball-reference.
The Suns are 1-2 overall, in 4th place in the Pacific Division and 11th in the Western Conference. If the playoffs began today, the prognosticators would have been right. Starting looking at lottery picks, folks!
Now let's see how the team is doing.
So much for preseason talk that the Suns would be faster than their opponents. The Suns current Pace is 20th overall. Ugh. And so much for preseason talk and the all-important 'visual evidence from watching games' that the defense is improved. Suns are in the all-too-familiar 26th position out of 30 teams on defense. Again, ugh.
Okay, this is a little more difficult to read. Go to basketball-reference.com to figure out what each factor means, but suffice it to say that you want the rankings in parentheses to be as high as possible. The Suns' rankings are not.
(in the immortal words of 'what she said': click on it to make it bigger)
Apparently, Steve Nash can't pass anymore without turning the ball over just as many times. Hakim Warrick is kicking butt in limited time, as is Goran Dragic, while Nash, Hill and Turkoglu are wasting their minutes by comparison. Oh and Dudley seems to have regressed as well. And Childress was a terrible offseason acquisition.
Looking specifically at the Power Forward position, Warrick and Turkoglu are averaging 19.3 points, 9 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1 block in a combined 47 minutes per game. Yuck. Where are Amare and Lou (27.8, 13.3, 1.4 and 1.93 in a combined 48.4 minutes) when we need them?
Look at the 2009-2010 totals line (compare to the Totals line above):
As a team, the following numbers are worse than a year ago: Points per game (-6.5), offensive rebounds (-.80), defensive rebounds (-3.2), assists (-4.6), blocks (-.10) and assist-turnover ratio (-.3). The only things the Suns are doing better than last year? Steals (+.16), Turnovers (-.10) and personal fouls (-1.7)
This team is doomed. DOOoooOOOMMMMMMMMed.
Are you scared yet?
All in all, about as good as could be expected. In fact, I was pretty darn impressed. Offensively, the Suns were extremely effective and defensively, well the Lakers are pretty darn good. No complaints here.
Here's the first recap from over at SBNAZ:
Phoenix Suns Put Up Good Fight But Drop Home Opener To Los Angles Lakers, 114-106 - SB Nation Arizona
The Phoenix Sun had a tough task playing the Los Angeles Lakers for their home opener and the result was as expected. But the home town boys gave the fans a solid game through a combination of gritty effort and skilled play. The Suns had no answer for Pau Gasol (not many teams do) and couldn't keep Lamar Odom off the glass but offensively Phoenix continues to make quick progress. There are no moral victories in sports but if there were, this would be one.
More recap fun (now, with quotes):
Both Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers Encouraged By Early Season Game - SB Nation Arizona
Phoenix Suns head coach Alvin Gentry said he was "proud" of his team despite losing their home opener 114-106 to the Los Angeles Lakers. Lakers head coach (and Zen master) Phil Jackson wasn't thrilled that his team took 27 three point shots but overall was "pleased with the way the team performed."
And check out these cocky bastards. I guess we shouldn't expect anything more from Laker fans. As the lady once sang, true colors shining through.
Lakers 114, Suns 106: Gasol, Odom Pound Squishy Phoenix D - Silver Screen and Roll
The Phoenix Suns have clearly faded since enjoying their 15 minutes of semi-glory back in May 2010, and frankly they were a pretty soft target even then. Amare Stoudemire at least gave them a puncher's chance of keeping up with the Lakers for a quarter here and there. Now that he's fled the conference out of an acute case of Pau-phobia, the Suns are little more than another of the Lake Show's intradivisional speedbags.
Game notes after the jump. Post game quotes, etc to follow.