It's Becoming Comical How Much Better The Suns Are Than The Rest Of The NBA
It's no longer a shock or really a hot take to talk about how the Suns are good. If you've been on planet earth since the NBA Bubble and you pay attention to basketball, you know this to be true. Phil Jackson is famous for a lot of reasons, but one of his most known and widely accepted theories is his 40/20 rule. For those unaware, you're really only a contender if you win your 40th game before your 20th loss. Just look throughout NBA history and who won the title. If you have dreams of seeing your favorite team reach the top of the mountain, that's a pretty good box to check.
2021: Bucks won, were 40-24 in an obviously different type of season
2020: Lakers won, were 40-12
2019: Raptors won, were 40-17
2018: Warriors won, were 40-10
2017: Warriors won, were 40-7
2016: Cavs won, were 40-14
2015: Warriors won, were 40-9
2014: Spurs won, were 40-15
2013: Heat won, were 40-14
2012: Heat won, were 40-15
2011: Mavs won, were 40-16
2010: Lakers won, were 40-13
2009: Lakers won, were 40-9
2008: Celtics won, were 40-9
Again, this isn't all that surprising. The best teams usually find their way to the Finals and become NBA champions. But what the Suns have done is take that up to another level. Last night against the Spurs they won their 40th game of the season……in 49 tries. Part of that is Devin Booker continuing to be an absolute force, another part is the Point Gawd looking incredible even in his old age
part of that is great roster depth and some of the best coaching you'll find in the entire league. It all adds up to the Suns smashing Phil Jackson's theory. In fact, the Suns became just the 10th team in the last 15 years to snag their 40th with before their 10th loss. While that doesn't exactly guarantee you a title, we know that 4 of those 10 actually finished the deal. The '20 Bucks did it, but as we know they lost in the bubble. A bit of a unique circumstance. The '16 Spurs did it and won 67 games that year, but didn't even make the Conference Finals. The '09 Celtics did it, but their title hopes went down with KG's knee injury and he missed the playoffs. The '15 Hawks did it, but ya know….LeBron.
The point is, a 40/10 situation is pretty damn rare when you look back throughout recent NBA history, and chances are if you are able to snag either 40/20 or 40/10, you have as good a shot as any to legitimately start dreaming as a fan of winning the title. How does the rest of the league compare to the Suns in this regard? Entering today, here is how things stand
While it's certainly possible we see one of those top 3-4 teams in the East go on like a 8-1 run or better, it's probably unlikely. The Warriors I would say are locks for the 40/20 rule, and the really interesting team is Memphis. A 5-2 stretch doesn't seem crazy. And while they may not win the title, getting in the 40/20 camp gives you a pretty good chance to at least make the Conference Finals. As you can see, everyone else is simply playing catchup to what is going on in the desert.
Now winners of 10 straight, this is the second 10 game winning streak of the season for the Suns. Remember, they won 18 in a row after starting the year 1-3. They've lost 2 games in a row just twice all year. Tomorrow is February 1st. Since they arrived in the bubble, this franchise is 99-30. If you include their postseason record, it gets bumped to 113-38. That seems pretty fucking good!
This is also where I'll remind you that a team that has the best record in the NBA at 40-9 has exactly zero (0) All Star starters. That makes total sense and doesn't completely invalidate the entire exercise. Good job Adam Silver!
There is just something so fascinating about this Suns rebuild. I keep going back to Monty Williams' speech after they completed their 8-0 bubble run
I mean, has that not been exactly what they've done since that moment? Sure the Chris Paul trade was fairly significant, but the rest? Great internal development and savvy free agent signings. Booker, Ayton, Cam Johnson, Mikal Bridges, are all major contributors and are all guys they drafted. They nailed their coaching choice. They play the right way. Honestly, it's impossible to not be a Suns fan. They win and play a beautiful brand of basketball in the process. To go through the heartbreak of an 8-0 bubble run and miss the playoffs only to back it up with a monster season and make the Finals is a good story. To back up the heartbreak of losing that Finals being 2 games away and then coming back and being 40-9 and destroying the entire fucking league almost doesn't seem real. There are flukes every year where a team comes out of nowhere and surprises everyone and then poof, they're gone. These Suns? About as for real as you're ever going to get. They have arrived, and they arent going anywhere for a long, long time. Pretty cool story.