Suns sport great balance inside, outside

Updated: December 1, 2004, 4:44 PM ET
By Brian James | ESPN Insider
For the second straight week, a member of the Phoenix Suns has been selected as the Western Conference Player of the Week. This time, forward Shawn Marion is honored; last week, it was center Amare Stoudemire.

Entering play Wednesday against LeBron James and the Cavaliers, the Suns are off to a rousing 12-2 start under second-year coach Mike D'Antoni. After he was promoted from assistant coach to replace Frank Johnson in December last season, D'Antoni guided the Suns to a 29-53 finish. They were the league's youngest team that had to endure a coaching change and an overhaul after the eight-player blockbuster that sent Stephon Marbury to the Knicks on Jan. 5.

Much of the turnaround in the Suns' fortunes this season can be attributed to better chemistry and a lot more confidence. But the primary reason is the get-up-and-go playmaking ability of free-agent acquisition Steve Nash.

The Suns lead the NBA in scoring at 106.4 points per game, almost four points higher than any other team in scoring. This team runs better than any other. They get the ball to Nash and the wings sprint down the floor like it's a track meet.

The Suns also leads the league in point differential at 11.7, which coaches view as a huge statistic in separating the good teams from the bad. They shoot well as a team (47-percent from the field).

Another key is the way the Suns have been able to be effective inside and outside. They have converted 43 more 3-pointers than opponents (104-61) and yet have 61 more free-throw attempts than foes (343-282).

This proves how aggressive offensively this team is. The Suns also have the best "spurt ability" of any team.