Suns in mid-tier of Lowe’s League Pass Rankings for ESPN

Oct 13, 2022, 9:15 AM
Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns dribbles the ball against Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks...
Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns dribbles the ball against Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks in the first quarter of Game Six of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals at American Airlines Center on May 12, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

Usually, winning basketball looks good.

For the Phoenix Suns, who set a new franchise win record at 64 last season, there are built-in entertainment factors.

It starts with the Chris Paul and Devin Booker backcourt. NBA nerds probably will enjoy watching Mikal Bridges’ swarming defense, how cleanly the offense moves the ball and how seamlessly the players on the weak side of the defense find themselves in the right spots most of the time.

But for the casual, eh, it’s a little more difficult to call Phoenix must-watch.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe ranked the Suns 14th in his annual league pass rankings that are created by scoring five categories: zeitgeist, highlight potential, style, league pass minutia and unintentional comedy.

This is shockingly low for a 64-win team with a layered pick-and-roll attack, potential for drama with Deandre Ayton, and the return of the classic purple sunburst jerseys.

But we’ve seen and enjoyed this movie enough for now: Paul and Booker snaking their way to midrangers from the right elbow, the Suns’ steadfast defense forcing those same shots on the other end. They are Team Bizarro Shot Selection.

Monty Williams has to suss out roles for Landry Shamet and Dario Saric. Josh Okogie is an in-your-jersey defender. Kevin Ray and Eddie Johnson have great chemistry on the call.

Obviously, there’s enjoyment in watching Paul chase fouls once Phoenix gets in the bonus. How he and Booker operate in the mid-range is old-school and savage, too, Lowe will agree.

It’s understandable there is “they are who they are” energy with this team.

Even before getting into his top 10 most entertaining clubs, though, there are some teams that leapfrogged the Suns based on newness.

Right ahead of them in the rankings are the Atlanta Hawks, who paired Dejounte Murray with Trae Young, and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who swung the blockbuster of the offseason by acquiring Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz.

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