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HomeBasketballNBANBA Power Rankings Week 10: Phoenix in a Phreefall

NBA Power Rankings Week 10: Phoenix in a Phreefall

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A couple of weeks ago I called the Phoenix Suns a contender, making the team one of nine I believe that has a realistic shot to win the 2024 NBA championship.

I might already be walking that back.

Phoenix a third of the way through the season sits at 14-15, on the outside looking in at the play-in. Not playoffs. Play-in. The Suns are 11th in the west, losers of 5 of their last six and owners of a 3-8 mark in December.

Phoenix still hasn’t figured out a regular rotation, with coach Frank Vogel making changes on the fly at the 2 and 3 spots, largely due to the unavailability of Bradley Beal. Eleven players have started for the Suns through 29 games. The Suns regularly look disinterested on the defensive end of the floor, even more damning when you consider that defense has been Vogel’s calling card.

The team hasn’t fared much better offensively.

The firepower brought by Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, to this point at least, has been understated. Phoenix is 28th in the League in shot attempts and 20th in field goal percentage. An increase in 3-point attempts hasn’t come, with the Suns ranking 23rd in the NBA in that department. Phoenix is also a bottom-7 team in turnovers.

What’s even more disheartening is it feels like the Suns are ruining a spectacular Durant campaign. The 35-year old Durant in year 17 is averaging better than 30 points a game on 52/47/88 splits. Durant is also chipping in with 62 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game. Durant currently is taking a shade more than 20 shots per game.

He needs to take more.

Durant in a 128-114 loss to Dallas on Christmas night took only 11 shots in 43 minutes of play. That came two days after Durant dropped 28 points on 14 shots in a loss to Sacramento. Even at 35, Durant continues to play aggressively, exhibited by his 8.3 free throw attempts per game — most since his 2014 MVP season.

Sure, Phoenix has some holes in its roster, but the Suns should not be under .500. Some reports have surfaced about Durant’s frustration with the situation, which Durant refuted. I wouldn’t blame him if he were.

As it stands now, the Suns are in a freefall in these rankings.

Rankings from the previous week are in parenthesis.

  1. Boston Celtics (2)
  2. Minnesota Timberwolves (1)
  3. Denver Nuggets (7)
  4. Milwaukee Bucks (5)
  5. Philadelphia 76ers (4)
  6. Oklahoma City Thunder (3)
  7. Miami Heat (13)
  8. LA Clippers (6)
  9. Dallas Mavericks (10)
  10. New York Knicks (12)
  11. New Orleans Pelicans (11)
  12. Sacramento Kings (8)
  13. Orlando Magic (9)
  14. Los Angeles Lakers (14)
  15. Cleveland Cavaliers (15)
  16. Houston Rockets (17)
  17. Golden State Warriors (20)
  18. Indiana Pacers (18)
  19. Brooklyn Nets (19)
  20. Phoenix Suns (16)
  21. Chicago Bulls (21)
  22. Utah Jazz (24)
  23. Memphis Grizzlies (25)
  24. Atlanta Hawks (23)
  25. Toronto Raptors (22)
  26. Portland Trail Blazers (26)
  27. Charlotte Hornets (27)
  28. Washington Wizards (29)
  29. San Antonio Spurs (28)
  30. Detroit Pistons (30)
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