PHOENIX SUNS

By the numbers: Suns face tough odds with remaining schedule

Feb 18, 2018, 5:12 PM | Updated: Feb 19, 2018, 2:15 pm
Phoenix Suns forward TJ Warren, right, blocks the shot of Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram...
Phoenix Suns forward TJ Warren, right, blocks the shot of Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 112-93. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
LISTEN: Empire of the Suns

Before getting into what the remainder of the Phoenix Suns’ schedule means with regard to the 2018 NBA Draft Lottery, the All-Star break allows for an analysis of the 23 games left on the 2017-18 plate.

For the Suns, it’s not easy.

At 18-41 as of the All-Star game, Phoenix is tied with the Atlanta Hawks for the worst record in the NBA, though a whole six teams are tied with a league-low 18 victories so far.

Here are a few quick numbers about the task ahead for the Suns when the post-All-Star break begins Friday against the Los Angeles Clippers.

2

Phoenix opened the year projected to have the most difficult schedule, mostly thanks to the post-All-Star game plate, and that looks pretty accurate after 59 games have been played. Per Basketball-Reference.com, only the San Antonio Spurs have a more difficult remaining schedule.

5

Phoenix faces five teams that are among the six-worst squads by winning percentage at the break. So mark these games on the calendar: The Suns play the Grizzlies (Feb. 28), Hawks (March 4), Magic (March 24), Kings (April 3) and Mavericks (April 10) down the stretch. All of those teams entered the All-Star breaks with 18 wins, the same as the Suns, meaning each of those dates will be key in the tanking rankings.

7

For Phoenix, seven more games come against top-5 teams in terms of winning percentage over the All-Star break. That would include the Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers. The Suns do not play the 41-16 Toronto Raptors after losing to them twice before All-Star weekend.

10

A 10-game stretch from March 13 into April 1 marks the dooming stretch for the Suns. With an exception of a March 24 game at the Orlando Magic, they play only teams that should be in the playoff hunt — assuming 28-29 Detroit doesn’t fall off from chasing the eight-seeded Miami Heat, who have faltered with a 3-7 record in their last 10 games.

14

Just seven of 23 remaining games for the Suns come against teams with sub-.500 records. That means 14 come against winning squads. Phoenix faces the league-leading, 44-13 Houston Rockets once (March 30) and the next-best Golden State Warriors three times (March 17, April 1 and April 8).

The Suns also face the revamped Cleveland Cavaliers (March 13), the red-hot Utah Jazz (March 15), the 40-19 Boston Celtics (March 26), and the 33-26 Oklahoma City Thunder twice (March 2 and March 8).

15

Fifteen of Phoenix’s remaining games on the schedule will feature Western Conference foes.

Penguin Air

Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton takes the court prior to Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round ...
Wills Rice

Suns’ Ayton becomes 2nd No. 1 pick to hit restricted free agency since 1985

The Suns' Deandre Ayton became the second No. 1 overall pick to hit restricted free agency since the birth of the NBA draft lottery in 1985.
1 day ago
Denver Nuggets assistant coach Patrick Mutombo talks to the team during practice July 8, 2014 at Pe...
Arizona Sports

Raptors G League coach Patrick Mutombo to join Phoenix Suns

Patrick Mutombo is joining the Suns' coaching staff as an assistant. Additionally, Randy Ayers is transitioning to coaching advisor.
1 day ago
Phoenix Suns guard Cameron Payne, left, is hit in the face by Los Angeles Clippers forward Nicolas ...
Kevin Zimmerman

Suns free-agency focus: Wings, modern power forwards of note

The Phoenix Suns have been linked to Nicolas Batum before free agency and Thaddeus Young at past trade deadlines.
1 day ago
Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) dunks as New Orleans Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas looks...
Arizona Sports

Report: Phoenix Suns tender qualifying offer to C Deandre Ayton

The Suns have reportedly tendered a $16.4 million qualifying offer to center Deandre Ayton, making him a restricted free agent on July 1.
1 day ago
Kevin Durant #7 and Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets look on in the final seconds of their 109...
Jake Anderson

Kyrie Irving opts into $36.5 million option with Brooklyn Nets, per reports

All-Star guard Kyrie Irving will be opting into his $36.5 million player option with the Brooklyn Nets, according to multiple reports.
2 days ago
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns during the second half of the NBA game at Footprint Center on...
Jake Anderson

Odds of Deandre Ayton playing for Nets leap with Kyrie Irving uncertainty

With NBA free agency officially commencing on Thursday, oddsmakers are projecting where free agents will be playing next season.
2 days ago
By the numbers: Suns face tough odds with remaining schedule