Being the Web Analytics Coordinator for the Phoenix Suns, I’m surrounded by numbers every day. Most of the time I’m looking at numbers regarding the Suns.com web site. But now that it’s my job to watch the games, I figured I would try something new as well.

This season I’m going to try and write about the trends I see after each game.

The difference between this and other analysis you may find on fan blogs is that I’ll be doing all of my trend analysis only by the box score. There are both pros and cons to doing this.

First the pros:

  1. My trend analysis won’t be skewed by what I hoped the team would do – it will only be on what the team actually did.
  2. I won’t be able to let my favorite players off the hook just because they looked like they were trying hard. If the box score doesn’t show it, I can’t put it in my trends.
  3. The “common knowledge” about the Suns (that they don’t play defense and don’t rebound well) can be proved or disproved by the numbers – not by just watching the game and seeing what I want to see.


And the cons:

  1. The box score obviously doesn’t show everything. There are many times, for example, when a player comes over on help defense and doesn’t get a stat in the box score despite the fact that he was the one who stopped the opponent from scoring.
  2. I won’t get use the excuse of how the Suns played hard but were playing the 4th game in 5 nights. I can analyze how the Suns did on the 2nd of a back-to-back game but can’t use the excuse that they were tired for the reason they lost a game.
  3. The “common knowledge” about the Suns (that they don’t play defense and don’t rebound well) can be proved or disproved by the numbers – not just watching the game and seeing what I want to see.


If you’ll notice, I put #3 in both the pros and cons. I figure this can go either way. I tend to think that the “common knowledge” of the Suns is usually incorrect. The Suns kept the Sonics under 100 points last night and yet SportsCenter was talking about the “defensively-challenged Suns”. So what do the Suns have to do? Keep their opponents under 50 for the game? Twenty-four teams have played a game so far this young season. And 13 of those 24 teams have allowed more point than she Suns. It’s a trend I’ll be following throughout the season to see who’s right: the experts or me? This could get scary.

Now onto the numbers (the season is only one game old so pretty much anything goes at this point):

The Suns are 1-0 when the following happens:

 

  • They hold opponents under 100 points
  • They score more points than their opponent (thanks to Dan Banks for pointing out this stat to me. I never would have realized this otherwise)
  • With the starting lineup of Hill, Marion, Stoudemire, Bell, and Nash
  • Amare Stoudemire scores over 20 points
  • The starters score more than 70 points combined
  • Shawn Marion and Stoudemire get over 10 rebounds each
  • Steve Nash has 12 or more assists


Individual Statistics:

 

  • Grant Hill made two three point shots on 12 attempts last season. In his first game with the Suns, Grant Hill made one shot on seven attempts. At this rate he’ll average 574 attempts for the season. The most Hill has attempted in one season in his career is 98. He made 34 of those attempts that year – a 35% shooting percentage
  • Amare Stoudemire also attempted a three-point shot last night. He attempted three all of last season. Is this a trend that will continue?


Team Statistics:

When playing the Seattle Supersonics in the 2006-202007 season the Suns:

 

  • Averaged 40% three-point shooting. In last night’s game, they averaged 33%
  • Averaged 81% free-throw shooting. Last night they shot 65%
  • Averaged 20 fouls per game. In Thursday’s contest, they had 14.

 

Have any other stats to add to the list? Is there anything you would like me to track throughout the season? Leave them in the comments below! Oh, and GO SUNS!!