The Phoenix Suns head into Wednesday's much-anticipated first contact with the pre-legendary Miami Heat with a deserved 6-4 record earned essentially by beating the beatable and succumbing to quality.
Steve Nash has alternately been traded to the Knicks and quit to run for office in Canada, all while both growing and shrinking his family in the same week. Hedo Turkoglu continues to hold mastery over the dark arts of hitting shots at opportune moments to distract from his inevitable offensive decline and that he couldn't defend Ray Charles effectively in traffic court (his late defensive stands against the Nuggets notwithstanding).
The Suns have compiled a 6-4 record against a decent smattering of opponents. The second-best offensive rating in the association is joined by the 27th-best defensive rating, meaning the Suns score 108 PPG, but are nearly outscored by their opponents.
The rim-or-across-the-gym approach leaves little room for error. With Robin Lopez's decided lack of skill to stay healthy thus far, the Suns are left to morph into the 1998 Valparaiso Crusaders. (Bryce Drew, stay by the phone for your 10-day contract this winter.) All success will be determined from two places: the rim and the arc.
This risk/reward calculation is imitated a block from US Airways Center every summer by one Mark Reynolds. He set the season record for strikeouts last season and is rumored to be on the tongues of general managers accompanying owners to Orlando for meetings this month.
His Three True Outcomes approach mirrors that of the Suns' offense: small but no chance of defensive interference (walk/layup), the long ball over the defense (home run/3-pointer), and complete failure (strikeout/long rebound off missed three that the Suns' collection of small forwards couldn't corral with a butterfly net and a week's head start).
It's ruthlessly efficient and often painful to watch. Some fans can't stand watching whiff after whiff and need to see the counter move on a regular basis. However, the right combination of each provides the proper recipe for an offensive explosion frequently enough.
Unfortunately, the Suns also field an entire roster of Mark Reynoldses on defense. Plenty of them are trying, some of them occasionally succeed, and one of the others is Hedo Turkoglu.
(It's not necessarily nice to constantly pick on Turkoglu's feeble attempts to stop his opponents from scoring, but it's not like he can get defensive about it. Seriously. He's completely unable to get defensive.)
The Suns have done yeoman's work over the first eighth of the season to show you what they are: 82 games of Mark Reynolds. It's useful and mildly productive at the right price, but the strategy only works if you can somehow eliminate the need to catch any balls bouncing towards them.
If you don't mind an entertaining night out with plenty of long shots and aren't too obsessed with winning, you'll enjoy an evening with the Suns. Otherwise, you probably can't wait for Reynolds to be traded, either.