Less than one-third of the way into the 2013-14 NBA season, and the Phoenix Suns are already rapidly approaching their 2012-13 season win total.

Led by Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic, Phoenix is 17-10 this season, including 14-8 against the superior Western Conference. The 17-10 record is good for sixth in the West, 1/2 game behind Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets, and 1 1/2 games ahead of the Golden State Warriors.

An afterthought entering the season, fresh off a 25-57 season and a major offseason roster overhaul, Jeff Hornacek‘s club suddenly has playoff aspirations — and perhaps a long-term solution in their backcourt, according to ESPN’s Amin Elhassan.

“I think they went into the year thinking, ‘Hey, we don’t know what we’ve got in Bledsoe, but we’ve got a good idea that he’ll be pretty good. Let’s see what he does, let’s hold on to Dragic as an insurance policy, and then we’ll go from there,'” Elhassan told Brian Geltzeiler and Stacey King on SiriusXM NBA Radio’s The Starting Lineup. “I don’t think anyone expected those two to play as well together, from a production standpoint, and they didn’t expect the team to do so well. So I think both of those things happening have given them reason to believe, ‘Hey, maybe this is the backcourt we move forward with, and then we start trying to upgrade other positions.’

“I speculated before they year they’d be awful, but exciting to watch,” Elhassan added, “and my line has been, ‘Well, I’ve been 50 percent correct.'”

Elhassan also spoke about Hornacek, who is in his first year as Phoenix’s head coach after spending three years as an assistant in Utah.

“Jeff, I think, he should be considered among the front-runners for Coach of the Year,” Elhassan said.

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