The Phoenix Suns started out the 2020-21 NBA season hot, with a 5-1 record. Since then, they have fallen to 10-8 including a stretch that saw them drop five out of six games. How did the Suns fall from such a great start?
The most apparent problem with the Suns is that they can’t seem to keep any sort of lead. Of their seven losses since that great start, five of them had the Suns with the lead at some point in the second half. The Suns have also jumped out to a lead many times in the first half, only to see it disintegrate in the second half, usually in the third quarter. This can not be the case if the Suns hope to make the playoffs and even make a run in the playoffs.
The Suns shoot three-pointers far too much. Every Suns game seems to go the exact same way: Start the game hot from three, get a decent lead, and keep shooting (and missing) threes until the lead is long gone. The Suns need to look for much higher percentage shots, preferably in the paint. When a team has good shooting like the Suns, the ability to drive into the paint as well will keep opposing defenses on their heels and gives the Suns another dimension to their game.
The Suns are not playing at a fast enough pace. As much as it hurts to say it, this is completely on star guard Chris Paul. He seems to have no urgency in running the offense, and this leads the Suns to take an absurd number of bad shots and waste time. The Suns have significantly dropped in pace from last year, a year in which they made a ton of improvement. It sounds crazy, but Chris Paul might have to play like Ricky Rubio did last year for the Suns offense to see success.
Overall, the Suns have not been able to find much success on the offensive end despite many thinking the offense would flourish. This has led to them blowing leads and being unable to beat teams they are better than. The Suns can still make it far this season, but they need to figure it out fast before they slip out of the playoffs.
Photo: Barry Gossage