The Suns will win the NBA Finals if… They take more threes.

Could it be that simple? Well, in terms of three-point field goal percentage, the Suns shoot the fifth-best clip in the NBA, making 38% of shots from deep. But they only take 32 threes on average per game, ranking 26th or fifth-worst in the Association. For a team so talented offensively, the Suns need to shoot at least 40 threes per game. In comparison, the first-place Celtics are attempting 42.7 threes per game—undoubtedly a big reason Boston ranks second in the entire league with 121.2 points per game.

While there might be some strategic variations, the importance of the three-point shot in the modern NBA is undeniable. It’s a data-driven approach that maximizes scoring efficiency and adapts the game to a faster and more exciting pace. The Suns may have several mid-range assassins, but statistical analysis shows that, on average, three-point attempts offer a higher point-per-shot value than most two-point attempts (excluding layups and dunks).

Coach Frank Vogel must leverage data to scheme more open looks from deep to optimize scoring opportunities if the Suns hope to make a deep playoff run. Most pundits don’t give Phoenix a shot at the NBA Finals, but Vegas isn’t completely sleeping on the Suns. Their NBA playoffs odds are currently +2000 to win the Championship on most sportsbooks.

Finding a Winning Formula

The Suns have won 7 of their last 10 games, with their only losses coming against Milwaukee and Boston twice. Two games ago game against an Atlanta team without Trae Young, the Suns got up 41 attempts from deep and converted 22, good enough for a red-hot 53.7%. The Big Three combined for 61 points, but the role players shined the brightest.

The bench, which seems to have been missing in action more games than not lately made 9 of 14 (64%) three-pointers. Royce O’Neale and Eric Gordon each went 4 of 6, a big part of the two registering impressive plus/minus stats of +13 and +17, respectively. Fan-favorite Bol Bol had a modest five points in twelve minutes but his play energized the fans as he registered a game-high +21 plus/minus. Overall, the bench was the difference-maker against the Hawk scoring 47 points on 17 of 24 shots.

Allen made 3 of 7 from deep, well below his season average; But Devin Booker picked up the slack, sinking 6 of his 8 attempts from downtown on his way to scoring a game-high 30 points for the Suns. Durant continued his inconsistency from three-point range, making just 2 of 8, while Bradley Beal got up 4 and made 2. It was a balanced scoring effort: Eric Gordon (21 points), Royce O’Neale (16 points) and Kevin Durant (19 points) also chipped in for the Suns.

From Villain to Sharpshooter: Grayson Allen’s Phoenix Redemption

Part of a larger three-team deal that sent Deandre Ayton to Portland, Grayson Allen was initially an afterthought to the Suns landing their new big man, Jusuf Nurkić. Allen’s undergone a remarkable transformation in Phoenix, blossoming into one of the league’s most lethal threats from beyond the arc. Dan Bickley of Arizona Sports recently described Allen as “possibly one of the unlikeliest basketball heroes this town has ever seen.”

This season, Allen’s shooting has been nothing short of phenomenal. He currently leads the entire NBA in three-point percentage (48.2%), forcing opponents to make a tough decision. With Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal demanding so much attention, teams are often left scrambling to contain them, leaving Allen with wide-open looks.

Allen has capitalized with ruthless efficiency. He’s already had a staggering seven games where he’s drained eight or more three-pointers, a testament to his newfound shooting prowess. This offensive firepower has become a key ingredient in the Suns’ dominance, as Allen’s spacing creates driving lanes for his superstar teammates. With Allen’s hot hand, the Suns’ offense becomes even more potent, creating a nightmare matchup for opposing teams.

The Road to the Finals

After their most recent win against San Antonio, the Suns are in sixth place in the Western Conference and just one-half game out of the Play-In Tournament. But Dallas and Sacramento are nipping at their heels, and just like Phoenix, has won 7 of their last 10 games.

With just 11 games left, the Suns have the toughest remaining schedule in the NBA, but they have the firepower to overcome it and secure a good playoff position. Here’s what they have going for them:

  • Home Court Advantage: They have a strong home record (23-14) and will play a good chunk of their remaining games at Footprint Center. Stealing a few games on the road against those tough opponents will be crucial.
  • Balanced Offensive Attack: With their Big Three, the Suns have three players who can consistently create their own shots. Durant is a walking bucket with his incredible offensive repertoire. Booker is a lights-out scorer with a knack for getting hot, and Beal is a well-rounded offensive weapon with a smooth shooting stroke. They also have underrated role players who can step up and score big on any given night.
  • Unpredictability: Opposing defenses will have a nightmare trying to gameplan. Double-teaming Durant opens up opportunities for Booker and Beal on the perimeter. Focusing on the guards allows Durant to go off inside. This constant threat creates mismatches and keeps defenses guessing.

The remaining schedule will be a good test, but if they can rise to the challenge, they could be a real threat in the playoffs. It will be exciting to see how they perform down the stretch. Overall, the Suns’ offensive attack with KD, Book, and Beal has the potential to be dominant. However, maximizing their potential will require good coaching, unselfish play, and a commitment to defense.