The 2018-19 Suns’ pre-All-Star break: By the numbers
The Phoenix Suns resume their season Thursday after this weekend’s All-Star break, and it is safe to say they’ll want to put their first 59 games behind them.
The team came into the 2018-19 season wanting to make some improvements following last year’s 21-win campaign, but things have looked the same so far, and perhaps even worse at times.
Here is the the first half of the Suns’ season, by the numbers:
The Suns allowed 113.9 points per 100 possessions in the first half of the season, which ranked 29th out of 30 teams. Only the Cavaliers had a worse defense with a defensive rating of 116.3.
On the other side of the ball, the Suns averaged only 104.1 points per 100 possessions in the first half. While this is better than the 102.6 mark they finished last season with, it was still only good for 28th in the NBA.
In a league in which three-point shooting has become almost essential, the Suns rank dead last from deep at a meager 32.6 percent. They currently sit just below the Knicks, who are shooting 33.6 percent on threes.
One aspect of the game where the Suns were particularly poor was holding onto the ball, as they averaged 15.9 turnovers per game, tied for second-worst in the league. They ranked fifth in the league in opponent turnovers per game, but their inability to avoid turning it over themselves completely negated this. Phoenix turned it over on 15.6 percent of its possessions.
The Suns were also poor at securing rebounds, as they ranked last in that category at 40.1 rebounds per game. For context, the Bucks led the league with 48.8 rebounds per game.
One bright spot for the Suns has been Devin Booker, who currently ranks 13th in the league with 24.6 points per game. Booker is also averaging a career-high 6.7 assists per game and has shot 46 percent from the field, a notable improvement upon last year’s 43.2 percent mark.
No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton has impressed in his rookie season, and his 30 double-doubles rank 12th in all of basketball.
Of the 13 players to appear in at least 20 games so far, only three Suns (Jamal Crawford, Troy Daniels and T.J. Warren) had more than three years of NBA experience coming into the season. This inexperience could be one of the reasons that the Suns have struggled so mightily this season.
At 11-48, the Suns are seven games worse than they were at this point last season. Last year’s squad finished the season with an abysmal 3-20 record after the All-Star break, though, which means this year’s team would have to win 10 of their last 23 games to keep pace.
Oddly enough, four of the Suns’ 11 wins so far came consecutively. The team looked to be turning a corner after rattling off four straight in mid-December (their only winning streak of the season), but that has not been the case.
As if the Suns’ 48 losses weren’t bad enough, 31 of them have come by at least 10 points. Their points per game differential is -10.2, just barely ahead of the last-place Cavaliers, who sit at -10.5.
The Suns went into the break on a 15-game losing streak, a figure that has only been topped this season by the Knicks’ 18-game skid that just recently ended. Phoenix will look to snap this streak on Thursday when they play the Cavaliers in Cleveland.