Why Phoenix Suns and fans have even more reasons to hate NBA referees

Phoenix Suns fans didn’t need another reason to have issues with referees.

Betsperts just gave them one.

The website tallied up some figures and concluded the Suns have committed more fouls over the last seasons than any other team in the NBA.

21-22 20-21 19-20 18-19 17-18 Total

Phoenix Suns 1633 1374 1609 1932 1807 8355

Memphis Grizzlies 1620 1349 1546 1801 1900 8216

Toronto Raptors 1607 1526 1559 1724 1783 8199

Washington Wizards 1545 1555 1634 1701 1746 8181

Philadelphia 76ers 1590 1456 1529 1745 1811 8131

Houston Rockets 1692 1407 1566 1803 1597 8065

LA Clippers 1528 1383 1594 1913 1638 8056

Atlanta Hawks 1534 1392 1548 1932 1606 8012

New York Knicks 1672 1473 1464 1713 1682 8004

Brooklyn Nets 1670 1371 1510 1763 1688 8002

Add Chris Paul’s longstanding issues with Scott Foster, these numbers give Suns fans even more fuel to hate the referees.

May 10, 2022;  Phoenix, Arizona, United States;  Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) reacts after being called for a foul against the Dallas Mavericks during game five of the second round for the 2022 NBA playoffs at Footprint Center.

The Suns committed the second-most fouls in the NBA in Monty Williams’ first season as their head coach.

This was after tying Atlanta for most fouls committed in a season during Igor Kokoskov’s first – and last season – leading the Suns in 2018-19.

This was Phoenix’s second-worst season in franchise history at 19-63.

The season before?

Phoenix was whistled for the third-most fouls in the 2017-18 season when Earl Watson was fired after an 0-3 start and replaced by Jay Triano.

Phoenix Suns coach Earl Watson reacts to a call during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Wednesday, Oct.  18, 2017, in Phoenix.

The Suns won just 21 games in 2017-18.

Two seasons later, the Suns hired Williams and continued to commit fouls at an alarming rate, but have been whistled for fewer fouls the last two seasons.

Phoenix tied for 14th with Denver in the 2020-21 season and 19th in total fouls in 2021-22. In turn, the Suns had the league’s best record last season after posting the NBA’s second-best record in 2020-21.


Mar 19, 2021;  Phoenix, Arizona, United States;  Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams is ejected from the game after receiving double technical fouls against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first half at Phoenix Suns Arena.

The Suns have also gone from being last in defensive rating in 2017-18 and 29th in 2018-19 to 17th in 2019-20 in Williams’ first season, sixth in 2020-21 and third last season.

So is it fewer fouls leading to better defense, vice versa, or something more?

Probably all three and more.

Still, Phoenix being whistled for more total fouls over the last five seasons than any other team in the NBA will give its fans more reason to boo louder at the referees this season.

For subscribers: How Sun’s big Deandre Ayton can become a Top 3 NBA center

Have an opinion on the current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at [email protected] or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.

Support local journalism. Start your online subscription.

Comments are closed.