Seven games into the season the Phoenix Suns find themselves a game under .500 at 3-4 early showing signs of life and glaring holes that need to be resolved over the course of the season. An NBA team usually does not hit their stride until about 10 games in, so this group is still undefined.
The up-and-down nature of the team is not a shock as everyone involved in building this team over the summer has referenced this as a "New Era of Suns Basketball." They doing a good job of working in the five new faces, but they have nine total new players, four of which are seeing little to no playing time.
So far Luis Scola, Michael Beasley, P.J. Tucker, and Jermaine O'Neal have played well in the new system on the new team, but they need to get more out of the other five. That will start with them getting on the court as Wesley Johnson is averaging 6.5 minutes per game (3 DNPs), Diante Garrett 5.0 minutes per game (6), Kendall Marshall 4.5 minutes per game (4), and Luke Zeller 4.0 minutes per game (5) on the young season.
It is still a work in progress and the team is lucky to get out of the first seven games with more than one victory considering how inconsistent the play has been overall.
When the Suns welcomed in the Cavaliers they were hot off a win on the road and confident facing a young, but reportedly sick team. This was a chance to make a statement, but instead they made history coming back from an early 26-point deficit. It was the third largest comeback in franchise history behind wins at the Boston Celtics on December 5th, 2003 and at the Dallas Mavericks on March 2nd, 1997.
This historic comeback was the largest ever at home surpassing a March 31st, 2008 game against the Denver Nuggets.
Shannon Brown was the story of the game as he contributed with 12 points in the fourth quarter, just one game after connecting on a Suns single quarter record six threes in the fourth in a win at Charlotte. The comeback was inspired by full court defense, forcing turnovers, and an Alvin Gentry speech that was apparently not suited for PG television.
The second half at Orlando was the polar opposite as the Suns were up 10 at the half only to be outscored 69-38 squandering the game in the second half. Everything just unraveled as the Suns could not score, make a stop, or get any rhythm all throughout the second half of that game.
It was the worst overall performance of the season as the bench only scored 19 points, 3 in the second half. There were no positives to pull out of this game and it showed how low the team can fall with all the new faces.
No home practices to report from, check back in next week.
A look at three different players on the Suns for the week forming a good, bad, and a surprise either way each week.
- B+ for Goran Dragic - It is going to be impossible to meet expectations for the heir apparent to Steve Nash, but Dragic has played all out on the defensive end to start the season and is a major reason why they have been able to with the games they have. He is the catalyst for the team leading them in scoring (16.0), assists (7.6), steals (1.57), and minutes (34.4) early on.
- D- for Markieff Morris - He has been a fouling machine leading the team with 2.9 per game and showing a lack of instincts on the defensive end. His play off the bench has been a major issue if not the primary reason for the second units scoring struggles and until his shot starts falling the woes will continue.
- A+ for Shannon Brown - He ended last year strong, but this season he has been on another level as the key reserve for the Suns. At times he has even become the go-to scorer in the final period as he is averaging 13.3 points per game in the FOURTH QUARTER.
Player of the Week:
Marcin Gortat - 12.6 PPG 10.7 RPG 3.86 BPG
Has Gortat done enough to prove his critics and doubters wrong yet? He is currently leading the NBA in total blocks (27) and blocks per game (3.86) while pulling down 10.7 rebounds per game good enough for 5th in the league. Playing like this with consistency will be key for the Suns as they try to rectify their 28th ranked team defense.
This has the makings of a potentially great and even historic season -- from a Suns perspective -- for Gortat in the paint as a defender and rebounder.
He is off to his best offensive output to start a season scoring 88 points in seven games with six games in double figures so far, a better start than even last year when Gortat led the team in scoring. The combination of offensive production and his defensive prowess are making it hard to argue anymore that the Suns center is one of the best in the league at his position.