Just barely, the Phoenix Suns made the top-10 of the annual League Pass Rankings graded by ESPN’s Zach Lowe.
Phoenix is No. 10 in Lowe’s list of the most watchable teams, and not because they are necessarily flashy. They are slow-paced, not often finding themselves in transition and — believe it or not, Suns fans — weighed down by the Chris Paul experience, according to Lowe.
Paul indeed plays at a slow pace. He also doesn’t draw fans outside of the Valley because of his foul-drawing tendencies (let’s see how rule changes to eliminate non-basketball moves changes that this year).
Real basketball nuts probably can appreciate the Suns’ complex offensive tactics more than the casual fan.
That all is why the Suns aren’t ranked higher.
Phoenix surely has entertaining things going for it. Lowe mentions Mikal Bridges’ defense and Cam Payne’s gear-shift of energy as highlights. Jae Crowder is simply a fun guy — Lowe cites his salsa dancing in the first round of last year’s playoffs.
Devin Booker’s reputation as the archetype of an elite NBA scorer only grows, and Deandre Ayton’s lack of an extension could add an entertainment factor this year. Writes Lowe:
With Suns governor Robert Sarver courtside, do we have potential for an awkward “pay me!” moment in the vein of Shaquille O’Neal screaming at the late Jerry Buss — or a boozy Chandler Parsons shouting, “Max or nothing, motherf—er!” at Mark Cuban out of a cab?
Devin Booker’s bag is bottomless. The array of shots he busted out scoring 82 points over Games 4 and 5 of the Finals was straight-up ridiculous: isolation fadeaways; lefty floaters; catch-and-shoot jumpers launched after flying around picks.
Lowe doesn’t even mention that JaVale McGee’s Vlogging, dunking and general antics could push Phoenix into even more elite territory.
But the ESPN writer does give positive ratings to the Valley court and also the primary Bally Sports Arizona broadcast duo of play-by-play man Kevin Ray and commentator Eddie Johnson., who Lowe calls “elite.”
Lowe creates his annual League Pass Rankings with a point formula where five categories are rated 1-10: Zeitgeist (do people care?), star/highlight potential, style, minutia (announcers, jerseys, court design) and unintentional comedy.