It’s not only the eye test that the Phoenix Suns are passing right now, after the team has won four of its last five and continued to rise through the Western Conference standings.

The Suns also improved their playoff chances over that stretch according to analytical surveys, as pointed out in its most recent NERD Rankings. Based off an analytical “platform that uses algorithmic modeling to better understand sports,” – and other such language that barely makes sense – the NERD Rankings place Phoenix as the 19th-best NBA team.

But the ranking likes how things are shaping up for the Suns as they try to chase down the eighth and final playoff spot in the West:

“The Phoenix Suns have won 4 of their last 6 and are currently the No. 9 seed in the West, just one game out of a Playoff spot. While their Playoff odds only sit at 37.6%, that number is up over 22% from last week thanks to their current run. The Suns are the No. 8 team offensively in the League thanks to Steve Nash’s continued high level of play. Nash is assisting 54.7% of all Suns’ baskets while he is on the floor, the highest assist rate in a season since John Stockton in 1990-91.”

The NERD Rankings are based off of offensive and defensive efficiency numbers, combined to compute who the best and worst-performing teams are in the NBA. The Suns lie near the middle of the NERD Rankings with a 50.7 overall score – and that doesn’t even account for the Steve Urkel-esque staff.

To put things in perspective, the Chicago Bulls top the list with a score of 74.6. Check the NERD Rankings out at

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