PHOENIX SUNS

Phoenix Suns’ starting lineup ranks among NBA’s best through 2 weeks

Oct 31, 2022, 10:29 AM
Phoenix Suns' head coach Monty Williams gives a high five to Chris Paul (3)  in the closing minutes...

Phoenix Suns' head coach Monty Williams gives a high five to Chris Paul (3) in the closing minutes of the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets in Phoenix. Phoenix won 124-109 over Houston. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

(AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

Not only have the Phoenix Suns maintained a strong starting lineup without veteran forward Jae Crowder, they’ve remained one of the best in the NBA.

They’ve seamlessly transitioned to Cam Johnson at power forward, winning five of their first six games. As a result, the Suns are second in John Schuhmann’s Week 3 power rankings on NBA.com.

The starting lineup has a 28.9 points per 100 possessions edge over opponents, first among 20 lineups with at least 50 minutes together. It’s also third in offensive rating and fourth in true shooting percentage.

The starting group was a plus-13 in less than 17 minutes as the Suns blew out the Warriors on Tuesday and, as was the case last season, the Suns have been able to keep on rolling when they’ve replaced Deandre Ayton with another center.

Acquiring center Jock Landale in July has proved significant already. The Australian big man has had a plus-minus above 10 thrice, has two 16-plus-point performances and three games of at least seven rebounds.

Landale is also second on the team in player efficiency rating and grabs rebounds at the fourth-best rate on the roster at 17.4%.

Bismack Biyombo started in place of the injured Ayton in Sunday’s win over the Houston Rockets. However, Landale emerged with 16 points and seven rebounds in a season-high 23 minutes off the bench.

The Suns lineup has them 5-1 through two weeks despite Chris Paul’s shooting woes. His 34.6% field goal and 23.8% three-point percentages are the worst of his career.

That said, three starters — Devin Booker, Ayton and Mikal Bridges — average at least 15 points per game thus far. Moreover, seven players are above the league average in three-point efficiency. As a result, Paul remains one of the best facilitators in the sport, leading the league in assists.

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