The Phoenix Suns once upon a time were one of the teams that set off the 3-point shooting binge in the NBA. Of the teams with the most 3-point attempts in NBA history, nine of the top 10 have happened since the Seven Seconds or Less Suns team of 2006.
That 2006 team took the 10th most 3-pointers in NBA history with 2,097 attempts. The 2005 Suns team are 14th with 2,026 and the 2007 Suns are 18th with 1,965.
Mike D'Antoni's free-wheeling offense led by Steve Nash and Amar'e Stoudemire changed the way many teams look at the NBA. The stretch-4 became much more prevalent and the league has valued the 3-pointer more and more since then.
The Suns though took a back seat. After D'Antoni was dismissed, Alvin Gentry brought a much slower style to the Suns. It was not Seven Second or Less at all. Shaquille O'Neal's presence in the lineup starting in 2009 slowed the team down some too. The 3-point arms race ended in Phoenix.
Now that the team has Goran Dragic and Eric Bledose in the backcourt and a much younger squad, it appears the Suns are getting back into the 3-point club and hosting away at a near-record pace.
This season the Suns are taking 25.1 3-point field goal attempts per game, making on 36.6 percent of them. Their total of 377 3-point attempts entering Friday's games are sixth in the league although their field goal percentage is 12th, slightly above the league average.
Phoenix is taking a ton of 3-pointers and the team is not afraid to keep hoisting away.
The Suns under Jeff Hornacek are forsaking the inefficient long 2-pointers and going for the more efficient 3-point shots that many in the analytics era go for. According to Bright Side of the Sun, the Suns are taking a robust 31 percent of their field goal attempts from beyond the arc. That is second to the 40 percent of shots taken in the paint area. It seems like the new crew in Phoenix favor the analytics approach.
This year, the Suns are putting up the second most 3-pointers per possession. A big part of Phoenix's surprise .500 start is very much in the emphasis of shooting 3-pointers now. In fact, this Suns team is taking more 3-point attempts per possession than those Seven Seconds or Less Suns.
This Suns team is not quite at that Suns team's level. Goran Dragic is not suddenly an MVP and Miles Plumlee is not Amar'e Stoudemire.
Teams though are finding it very difficult to guard this fast-paced Suns team with the rate they are hoisting 3-pointers. The surprise will continue so long as those shots fall.
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