Phoenix Suns: A sharp rise in the NBA power rankings

The Phoenix Suns continued their momentum on the court and in several power rankings, with a strong defensive effort against the Boston Celtics in the spotlight.

All-star Devin Booker returned, providing stability to combat the Sun’s occasional lulls in ball movement. He worked in eleven assists in Sunday’s 100-91 win over the Celtics, but coach Monty Williams had a busy week manipulating the grid.

Williams responded to the team’s lackluster efforts in New Orleans, a 123-101 drubbing, by adding Frank Kaminsky to the starting XI via the sophomore wing Cam Johnson.

The move seemed to not only help the Suns – who defeated Detroit 109-92 and then the Celtics – but also Johnson, who scored 11-20 from the bench in those two games.

According to the latest NBA power rankings, the Phoenix Suns are now comfortably one of the top 10 teams in the NBA.

In this week’s games against Cleveland, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Orlando, the Suns can’t afford to allow a lack of focus.

It wouldn’t hurt if Booker and Deandre Ayton found a way to improve their free-throw opportunities. Your 34 combined tries in the last eight games translates into roughly two tries per game. Not enough. Power Rankings: Phoenix Suns # 8

The Phoenix Suns have seen individual break-ins come and go, but teammates record for each other.

Mikal Bridges is 6-36 out of 3-point range for the last eight games, but Cam Johnson has scored 18 of his 47 attempts (38.3%) during that time.

As a team, the Suns rank 29th in both the percentage of shots in the restricted area (23%) and free-throw rate (21.2 attempts per 100 shots from the field), having seen the league’s biggest drop from last season in the former (33%, 13th) and the second largest decline in the latter (27.1, 8th).

The analysis included Booker’s ongoing (if not alarming) gunfights and highlighted the decline in effective field goal percentage and actual shooting percentage from top marks in career last season.

ESPN’s Power Ranking: Phoenix Suns # 7

The lineup was a popular topic.

Williams said he took the move because the teams are playing big and he didn’t want to put Johnson in a “tough spot” because he had to protect bigger strikers. Johnson averaged 15.5 points off the bench while Kaminsky averaged 12.0 points and 7.0 rebounds on his two starts.

Bleacher Report Power Rankings: Phoenix Suns # 6

That’s a season high for Phoenix, and with two of the teams facing the Suns, Milwaukee and Philadelphia, there’s room for further progress on this week’s schedule.

The very fluid BR rankings are complementary on the surface and underline the dramatic end of the victory over Dallas on Monday evening.

However, the update also includes caution for Suns fans.

The suns almost let themselves be savored by their poor play in clutch situations against the Boston Celtics. They were less than two minutes ahead of eight and let Boston shorten the lead to three before closing it. They won, but Sunday’s game shouldn’t have been as close as it was on the track.

CBS Sports Power Leaderboard: Phoenix Suns # 7

Two weeks ago, CBS had Phoenix in 14th place. Last week it was 10th.

After three solid W’s – with the New Orleans stinker – the suns pick up the pace and get healthier, with Devin Booker being an important catalyst.

Booker averaged 22.5 points and 3.8 assists in 35 percent 3-point shooting, while Chris Paul continued his steady production with 19.8 points and six assists per game. It’s clear that the offensive still doesn’t click completely, but the Suns’ defenses have been tenacious enough to keep them in the profit column.

Frank Kaminsky was also noticed after contributing 10.3 points with 61.5 percent field goalscoring in 18 minutes per game last week.

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