Abrams: Suns NBA's Biggest, Best Surprise
The Suns aren’t just grabbling headlines. They’re stealing the big ones.
How big? Try top-of-Grantland.com-and-4,500-words-long big.
Renowned writer Jonathan Abrams’ feature on the Suns was inspired by the team’s rise “from the ashes”, which he sees mirrored in the Suns’ past (see: 1987). After a solid historical background of Phoenix basketball, Abrams gets to the meat of what makes the Suns great:
“Those [players] are uninspiring until you see the final product. These Suns are the NBA’s biggest and best surprise. Instead of tanking, they’re competing in a deep Western Conference at 27-18 to the astonishment of most — Hornacek included.”
We don’t mind Hornacek’s surprise. Part of the reason the Suns have been so successful this season is Hornacek’s we-haven’t-done-anything-yet mantra he’s instilled since Day One.
And as Abrams stated, the Suns impress only when the final product unfolds before viewers’ eyes. Goran Dragic is an All-Star-worthy point guard, but nearly every rotation player has had his night in the spotlight this season.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that can contribute,” Hornacek told Suns.com. “We need them to. When one guy’s not playing well, we can go to somebody else.”
The stats back that up. Eight different players (including the injured Eric Bledsoe) are averaging at least nine points per game. That doesn’t include Leandro Barbosa (8.5 ppg), Ish Smith (6.5 assists per 36 minutes) or Alex Len (11.8 rebounds per 36 minutes).
The personalities define the story better than production. Abrams points out Channing Frye’s heart condition, the Morris twins’ way of settling things and the traits that showed best and brightest when the Suns hired Hornacek and General Manager Ryan McDonough.
There’s a lot to like about this year’s team. Abrams’ piece does a lot of it justice.