From Media Day until opening night, NBA.com’s John Schuhmann will provide a key stat for each team in the league and show you, with film and analysis, why it matters. Up next is the Phoenix Suns, another team that couldn’t get it done on either end of the floor.
5.3 – Fewer points per 100 possessions that the Suns scored last season than they did in 2011-12. No team regressed more offensively.
Losing Steve Nash will do that to you. Nash-led teams (in Dallas and Phoenix) ranked No. 1 in offensive efficiency for nine straight seasons between 2001-02 and ’09-10. The Suns were still a top-10 offense in his last two seasons in Phoenix, and they were always much better offensively with him on the floor.
Most regressed offenses, points per 100 possessions
A regression of 5.3 points per 100 possessions may not seem huge, but the league, as a whole, improved by 1.3. So, compared to the league average, the Suns regressed by 6.6.
The Suns still had some decent talent on last year’s roster, with Goran Dragic and Luis Scola joining Jared Dudley and Marcin Gortat in the starting lineup. They certainly had more talent than the Bobcats, Magic or Sixers, three teams that finished ahead of them in offensive efficiency.
But one new face may have been subtraction by addition. Michael Beasley took the third most shots on the Suns and was, basically, the least efficient scorer in the league. Among 177 players who attempted at least 500 shots from the field, Beasley ranked last in true shooting percentage (46.2 percent).
True shooting percentage = PTS / (2 * (FGA + (0.44* FTA)))
Beasley ranked 15th in the league in usage rate and was the only player in the top 100 that scored less than a point per field goal attempt. He took 17.7 shots per 36 minutes, most on the Suns. The much more efficient Dudley took 11.1, while Gortat took just 10.9, down from 13.1 the previous season.
On Dec. 12 against the Grizzlies, Beasley took 11 shots in just 10 minutes of playing time. He made two of them.
On April 7 against New Orleans, he took 11 shots in 15:29, making just one. The Hornets had the league’s worst defense after the All-Star break and the Suns scored just 19 points on 29 possessions (66 per 100) with Beasley on the floor.
Here are the shots he took…
Too many mid-range jumpers. Too many times where open 3-point shooters went ignored. Very little work within the Suns’ offense.
Now, this isn’t meant to be an attack on Beasley. He is who he is. But it’s a suggestion that if you take the least efficient scorer in the league off your team and give his shots to anyone else, your offense is going to be a little better.
The problem is that Dudley and Scola are gone, and Gortat is apparently prepared for his eventual departure. Though they no longer have the inefficient Beasley, they also lack guys who can create shots for others and guys who can knock down shots that others create for them.
A year after losing Nash, the Suns took another step backward. But maybe they can at least avoid contested, pull-up, mid-range jumpers with 22 seconds on the shot clock.
Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions