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It's only been 5 games, but we can start to see trends even this early, at least in terms of how the Suns have started the season vs. the rest of the league.
An important component of effective offense is shot distribution. As a general rule, the closer you are to the rim, the more likely you are to make the basket. This resulted in a rim-oriented league where size mattered more than anything else.
In an effort to open up the game, the NBA instituted a rule a couple decades ago whereby the lowest-% shots can be worth 50% more points. Now, if you can make a shot 23+ feet away from the basket, it's worth 3 points whereas a shot 22 feet away is worth only 2 points.
As a result, the best offense employs a preponderence of their shots "at the rim" and 23+ feet away from it.
And conversely, the best defenses force the opponent to shoot somewhere in between.
The Suns are actually doing pretty well on both fronts.
Here's a pretty picture from hoopdata.com, followed by an easy-to-follow summarization.
(click on the pic to make it bigger)
Okay yeah, the column headers are loaded with fancy dancy acronym/abbreviation mumbo jumbo. Don't let it give you a headache.
Here's what it means:
Phoenix Suns Offensive Summary: this picture says that, after 2 weeks of the NBA season, the Suns' offense should be the second-best in the league behind Denver. And the only reason the Suns are not 2nd is because half a dozen other teams are shooting way above average.
This statistic is determined by comparing the Suns' shot distribution (Effective Field Goal Percentage, or XeFG%, on shots based on distance from rim) to the rest of the league.
- 30.9% of their shots are right at the rim via dunks/tips (%Rim) vs. league average of 27.5%
- 12.3% of their shots from 1-9 feet away (%Short) vs. league average of 16%
- 10.5% from 10-15 feet away (%Mid) vs. league average of 9.2%
- 18.0% from 15-22 feet away (%Long) vs. league average of 24.9%
- 28.4% from 3-pt range (%3P) vs. league average of 22.4%
- Overall, 59.3% of the Suns' shots are the best value on the floor (at the rim, or from 3-pt range)