Suns Pick and Roll Defense (Part One)
Second, it gives you a better handle on what you actually have. This year is the first time that three of Utah's young assets (Favors, Kanter, Burks) are getting consistent, extended playing time. For some reason, Utah has decided to start John Lucas III and the dried up husk of Jamaal Tinsley instead of finally letting Alec Burks (a lottery pick in his own right) show his stuff. Luckily for the Jazz, Lucas and Tinsley were so bad and the team as whole so hopeless that they appear to have finally given him the car keys. At least until Trey Burke is healthy. The three teams mentioned are going to have far more information to work with when it comes time to decide what to do with players like Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger, Evan Turner, Plumlee, the Morris twins, etc. Further, the guys who show they can play can become trade chips.
Third, what's the downside? If the kids lose, that's more lottery balls. If they win, well then you have discovered you have some of the best assets in the NBA: productive guys on rookie (and therefore underpriced) contracts.
In any event, this praise is a long-winded way of introducing what I really wanted to discuss, which is Phoenix. The Suns have come out of the gate like a ball of fire (UCWIDT?) And while this is immensely enjoyable for neutral fans and particularly Suns partisans who were told to expect their team to abjectly suck, it's premature to start making playoff plans. On one hand, the Suns are benefiting from some unsustainable offensive performances (for example up until this past weekend, Eric Bledsoe was finishing at the rim at a LeBron James level clip. Bledsoe is a nice player, but...) On the other, their half court defense has been sketchy. Though they currently sit 5th in per possession defense (allowing .996 ppp), this seems likely to regress. I think they are running somewhat lucky in terms of opponents simply missing 3 pointers, and as I hope to illustrate below the fold, I think their poor pick and roll coverage will be their defensive undoing.