Re-Rising Suns

If you were watching Thursday night’s slugfest between the Phoenix Suns and Portland TrailBlazers, you likely came away marveling at Brandon Roy’s 52-point performance. After all … holy shit!

But his performance wasn’t the most fantasy-relevant aspect of the game unless a) you have him or b) you’re playing against him in a head-to-head league. Because if you have him you’re keeping him and if you don’t have him you ain’t getting him. Not much analysis necessary there.

But the more interesting thing is the score: a 124-119 Blazers victory. 243 points of fantasy goodness. Most average NBA followers would say “typical high-scoring Suns game.”

However, for most of the first six weeks of the season NBA fans and fantasy owners like were mourning the loss of the D’Antoni-style Suns. Those heady days were gone. Steve Nash was putting up Dallas-era stats (nice, but not mind-boggling) and every other player than Amare Stoudemire was underwhelming.

Hell, SLAM even wrote a feature about the demise of their run-and-gun identity and Nash complained the he didn’t even recognize his team anymore.

But things are turning around. It’s possibly a function of Nash’s insistence that the team gets back to running, the team’s mediocre 11-9 start or something else, but who cares?

After reaching 100 points in just 10 of their first 20 games, they have reeled off six consecutive games, averaging 114 points per game. Keep in mind the Lakers lead the league at 108 points per game, so the Suns have lately been scoring at a league-leading clip.

A little more number crunching:

  • After taking 79 or more shots just five times in their first 19 games, the Suns last seven games they have managed 81, 80, 75, 87, 87, 87, 79.
  • The Suns are shooting 51 percent from the floor and 39 percent from 3-point range in their last five, burying 54 3-pointers in that span.

This has a huge fantasy implications since the Suns were the equivalent of the fantasy golden goose under D’Antoni.

After all, those teams usually sported a whopping six solid fantasy players (Nash, Stoudemire, Shawn Marion, Leandro Barbosa, Raja Bell and Boris Diaw). Additionally, they played a such a quick pace than any opponent usually posted great shots as well as a beneficiary of all those extra possessions.

We’ve seen the boost in value that style has been for the Knicks, who went from having basically three fantasy players last season (Jamal Crawford, Zach Randolph and David Lee) to SIX (Chris Duhon, Wilson Chandler, Lee, Nate Robinson, Al Harrington and Quentin Richardson).

So while owners of Nash, Stoudemire, Jason Richardson, Shaquille O’Neal, Barbosa and Matt Barnes should rejoice, it’s really a fantasy Christmas gift for us all.

The NBA has yet another team (along with the Knicks, Warriors, Pacers, and Thunder) to ensure Brandon Roy and others can display the impressive talents while facing as little defense as possible.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Re-Rising Suns

  1. Excellent point. As somebody who made Amare the poster boy for the 2nd overall pick, games like tonight feel real good…

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