By the numbers: How injuries have hurt the Suns’ consistency
Mar 24, 2023, 2:38 PM
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The Phoenix Suns have battled with a season-long injury issue that has been their kryptonite to having consistent success.
It’s so powerful that superman-like Kevin Durant was able to only play three games as a Sun before rolling his ankle while warming up for his Suns home debut.
Here are a few numbers that break down the Suns’ kryptonite, key injuries to starters that have spanned the season to this point, with 10 key games remaining.
Across the league, there are 30 NBA teams, and across those teams, there have been 153 five-player lineups than the Suns’ most used lineup with current Suns players.
That lineup is Chris Paul, Cam Payne, Devin Booker, Torrey Craig, Josh Okogie and Deandre Ayton with 13 games played together.
This lineup has a +13 net rating and most recently went 2-3 in five games in between the Durant injury on March 8 and Ayton being ruled out with a hip injury on March 19.
A lineup of Booker, Payne, Craig, Mikal Bridges and Ayton played 18 games together, which is the most-used five-player Suns lineup overall this season, but Mikal Bridges is now a Brooklyn Net.
Durant (13 games since joining Suns), Booker (27 games), Paul (21 games) and Ayton (11 games) have missed a combined 72 games this season.
Booker, Paul and Ayton have played 25 games together this season, which accounts for about 36% of the Suns’ total games this season.
The lineup of Booker, Paul and Ayton has a +5.2 net rating and the Suns are 14-11 when they are on the floor.
The Paul and Booker dynamic duo has been the core of the Suns since 2020-21, but they have been on the court together for only 31 games this season.
Booker went down with a groin injury on Christmas Day versus the Nuggets, and the Suns went 10-11 over the 21-game stretch that Booker was out for.
The Suns are 27-18 with Booker on the floor, 26-25 with Paul and 18-13 when Paul and Booker play together.
Three is the number that has likely come to mind for most Suns fans during this most recent stretch of games in which the Suns have lost five of their last six.
The trio of Durant, Paul and Booker only played three games together before Durant got hurt. With Durant joining Paul and Booker, the Suns went 3-0 and immediately showed the league its title-contending potential.
In a small sample-size of 63 minutes played together, the three superstars put up a 133.1 offensive rating and a 100 defensive rating that led to wins over the Hornets (105-91), Bulls (125-104) and a nail-biter on the road over the Kyrie Irving-Luka Doncic-led Mavericks (130-126).
At this point, there may still be more questions than answers, but with Durant expected to come back next week, the answer to how far this trio can go could be coming soon.