Mighty or mirage? Assessing starts by Suns, Jazz, Nets, Nuggets, others



About 20 games into the season, we usually get a feel for which NBA teams are for real and which are pretenders. Yet every season there are always a handful of teams that are difficult to get a read on. Some are better than their current record indicates; other have simply ridden some good fortune to a comfy spot in the standings. Are these six teams fooling us? PHOENIX SUNS (10-12) The problem number: 345 Phoenix, the butt of jokes for a decade, went 5-2 out of the gates, with statement wins against the upper-echelon Clippers and 76ers. It seemed like we were headed for a surprising plot twist when it came to the direction of the league’s most dysfunctional franchise. But as November played out, the Suns began to fade, with the team losing eight of its final 11 games and dropping below .500.  Same old Suns, right? Not so fast. Phoenix’s recent slide wasn’t simply a bad team cooling off after a hot start. Blame bad injury luck and a pretty big (literally) absence. Aron Baynes, the Suns’ 6-foot-10, 260-pound



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