There have been numerous reasons for the Phoenix Suns (12-23) struggles this year, but the defensive inconsistency has been the biggest culprit.
On the season the team is ranked 25th as a team, but looks worse when you dig deeper. They have given up over 100+ points in a game 18 times this season with a point differential of -4.1, good for 24th in the league. The rotations and overall play have been sloppy. It has seemed to improved as of late, a good sign that at least the defense is not the primary concern right now.
When the team makes a stop they do not finish the job by giving up 11.5 offensive rebounds per game allowing an extra 23 possessions for the opposing team.
Over the past four games the team has played solid defensively giving up 97.6 points per possession. In contrast they are giving up 108 PPP on the season as one of the worst defenses in league.
Coming up this week the team faces a different kind of challenge. They can defend now as they have proven giving up less than 100 points in 10 of the last 14 games showing an improvement. Of course 10 of those games were at home and the team went 5-9 during this stretch, but they have played a better brand of basketball at least on the defensive end.
Now they hit the road for four straight games against teams with fairly anemic offenses that all rank in the bottom twelve of the league. Then again they all rank in the top half of the league in defensive points allowed meaning they will be tested on the offensive end after being tested on the defensive end this past week.
It is silly to think that four games will define a season, but with the way the Suns have struggled to score as of late the defense will not save them if they fall to 12-27 against these lock down defenses with methodical offenses.
New tests pop up every week, every game, and every quarter for this team that is currently the fifth worst team in the league with no signs of rising above that presently.