The Phoenix Suns put together a tremendous season, one that was way beyond the organization’s wildest expectations, last season. Can the Suns create an encore performance this season and present some value on the NBA odds?
2014-15 Regular Season Total: 44
Why the Suns Will Go Over the Number
The Suns will go over the number because they were already over that number last season, and have only gotten better this season. The Suns had Eric Bledsoe for 43 games, 40 of which the point guard started, and Bledsoe averaged 17.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game in those appearances. Bledsoe is just one of several pieces the Suns have to work with. Goran Dragic broke through last season. He helped produce for the Suns a few years ago in the team’s run to the Western Conference Finals before losing to the Los Angeles Lakers, but that was as a backup. Dragic became a strong starting guard for the Suns last season, averaging just over 20 points and about six assists per game. He’s becoming an even better player in the league, and after his special 2013-2014 season, he should continue to grow this year. Add Bledsoe for 82 games, and combine them with the other young up-and-comers the Suns have in the fold (such as the Morris twins), and this team should be able to get back to 48 wins. Miles Plumlee gained important experience playing on the United States men’s basketball team at the FIBA World Cup of Basketball. When you then realize that coach Jeff Hornacek did one of the three best coaching jobs in the NBA last year, and as a first-time head coach, the Suns have the leader who can take all this young talent and keep it on the right path. Hornacek should ensure that these players remain properly focused.
Why the Suns Will Stay Under the Number
Why the Suns could stumble is that their youth could take a wrong turn, perhaps laboring under the weight of pressure and expectations. There’s also reason to doubt this team from a purely statistical standpoint. The Suns were next to last in the NBA in terms of assists, and they were in the bottom five of the league in turnovers as well. Assist-turnover ratio really dragged this team down and was seen as a reason why the Suns barely missed beating out the Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks for one of the final few playoff spots in the West. If this doesn’t get corrected in the coming season, Phoenix will continue to give away enough possessions that it won’t be able to win at least 45 to 47 games. One particular point to make here is that Dragic was so good at getting to the basket that he would finish near the rim instead of needing to make an assist pass. This next season, opposing defenses might take the drive away from Dragic. He’ll need to be more aware of the importance of making the extra pass. If he’s too reckless and impatient, the Suns’ halfcourt offense could really slip.
Should that sort of thing be a huge worry for the Suns? Not really. This team showed so much last season, and it will be hungry to do more. Take the over with your NBA picks.
NBA Pick: Over 44