Goran Dragic is the Suns player of the week for the 2nd time this season after posting extraordinary stat lines against the Magic, Pacers and Mavericks.

First of all, let me make this clear at the beginning of the article.

Last night's game against the Houston Rockets was not considered in choosing this week's top player. That game will count for next week.

Why? It's just a matter of keeping the schedule consistent and maintaining a 7-day week. I also made the highlight video before the Rockets game, so it wouldn't make sense for me to refer to that game and then show you a video with no highlights from the match, would it?

Oh, and I'm also lazy and put off writing this until Sunday night when I could have done it before. I'm a procrastinator by nature (just ask my former Bleacher Report editor).

But now, on to business. That Goran Dragic guy is pretty good. And as much as I wanted to choose Bledsoe as player of the week for the first time, you cannot deny the honors to the Dragon when he plays as well as he did against Orlando, Indiana and Dallas.

Here are his averages for the week: 28 points, 5 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game, not to mention 62% shooting from the field, 61% shooting from three-point range and 94% shooting from the free-throw line. That is efficiency we have not seen from Dragic since February 2014, when he consistently dominated opponents while Bledsoe sat on the sidelines.

This is clear, undeniable proof that Dragic is the same, efficient player that he was last season. His shooting percentages are now just a tad under what they were at last year, with the exception of his free-throw shooting, which has actually improved significantly (from 76% to 86%).

His overall drop in production can be attributed, therefore, to a drop in minutes played as well as a drop in usage rate. Dragic produced more than seven assists in a game this season for the first time against the Mavericks, as he controlled the offense for much of the time and finished with 13 dimes. In most other games, Isaiah Thomas and Eric Bledsoe forced Dragic into an off-ball role, and his production suffered as a result.

So, what will happen when Thomas finally returns? I don't mean to start another heated debate over Thomas' role and future with Phoenix, but there is a reason that he is the most polarizing player on the team. Here we have a young player, who would start on most NBA teams, making just $27 million over the next four years. That is the type of value in a contract that many general managers would dream to have.

And then there's Dragic, who will likely command more than twice that amount of money on the open market despite being several years older.

So does Thomas' value come from the fact that his contract is such a bargain to us, or is he valuable because his contract is attractive to potential trade partners? In other words, should the Suns declare the experiment a failure and attempt to trade Thomas' bargain contract (along with other pieces) for the big man that they so desperately need to make a playoff push?

Has the experiment even failed in the first place?

For the record, I'm going to go with no. In fact, I'll shut up about the whole thing now, because it's much too early to make sweeping generalizations about the players. The games against the Pacers and Mavericks this week do indeed prove that Bledsoe and Dragic are capable of great things at their best; but the game against the Rockets might be evidence that sometimes, you could use an Isaiah Thomas to bail you out off the bench.

Oh yeah, I promised you a highlight video. Here it is.

Also make sure to vote on the poll below for your player of the week.

Who is your Suns player of the week?

  181 votes | Results

Gerald Green spent eight years trying to find his place in the NBA before a trade sent him to the Phoenix Suns. That transition was the fulcrum on which Gerald resurrected his career and turned into a super sub and one of the most electrifying players and incendiary scorers in the league.

I like Gerald Green.

The Gorilla gets the cover art, so I decided to put a picture of Gerald in here.

Gerald Green is the Human Torch. I wasn't sure whether the 4 on his chest was emblematic of the moniker "Four Fingered Assassin" or if I should photoshop a 1 in front of it for his jersey number. Either way, this is how I've been picturing Green lately when he enters (per Goran Dragic) video game mode.

I've had more than a couple opportunities to let that vision dance through my head, since Green has busted out the flamethrower on multiple occasions. Here are a few of his more spectacular outings.

11/4 - Suns 112, Lakers 106

Green entered the game at the beginning of the second quarter with the Suns leading 26-24 and poured in 13 as the Suns stretched their lead to 58-46 by halftime. He then made a curtain call by scoring 11 of the team's first 15 points in the fourth quarter as the Suns avoided an embarrassing loss to the loathsome Lakers. Gerald finished the game with 26 points on 11-19 shooting.

11/9 - Suns 107, Warriors 95

The Suns were down 79-71 to start the fourth quarter in a game they hadn't led since the score was 26-25. Green then rattled off eight consecutive points to give Phoenix their first lead (83-82) since the first quarter. The final tally of the carnage was 16 points in the quarter as the Suns surged past Golden St. for one of its signature wins of the season. Green finished with 19 points, with three of his four triples coming during the fourth quarter fulmination.

11/12 - Suns 112, Nets 104

The Suns dug themselves a huge hole early in this game (38-19) before the Gerald Green show began. GG scored 18 points over a seven minute stretch to help keep the Suns from getting boat raced. With the Suns still trailing to start the fourth, Isaiah Thomas (12) and Gerald (10) combine to score 22 points in the quarter and help the Suns complete the comeback. Green hit 11-12 from the free throw line in the game and scored a season high 28 points.

11/22 - Suns 106, Pacers 83

The pyrotechnics started early in this one, as Green scored the Suns' final 12 points of the first quarter over the last 3:06. Green hit two more threes early in the second, the last of which put Phoenix up 43-31. If you're counting at home that's another 18 point outburst in just over seven minutes. The Suns would ultimately cruise to victory as Green finished with five from deep and 23 points.

11/26 - Suns 120, Nuggets 112

Green came up jumbo large in a period spanning the end of the third and beginning of the fourth period. His 16 points were mostly of the spectacular variety and energized the crowd while demoralizing the helpless Nuggets. Gerald scorched Denver with a season high six long distance bombs and elicited the "you're like a video game" compliment/assessment from teammate Goran Dragic.


Green was an amazing +72 in those five games. Plus/minus isn't always a great tool to accurately measure a player's impact, but in these cases I think it's very apropos. Green is a pyromaniac's basketball dream. I'm surprised he hasn't been charged with arson in a post game interview.

Gerald does tend to suffer from the feast or famine mechanic, but he's not exactly disappearing in his more human outputs. Green has scored double digits in each of the team's last 10 games while only shooting less than 40% in two of them. He hit at least two three pointers in seven of the games.

The 20+ outbursts have become one of Green's calling cards. The other is his foudroyant, jaw-dropping dunks.

Here is a picture of me watching G Twice going nuclear.

Is this a fan boy article? Yes.

This is a fan site, though. I write here because of my passion for the Suns and the enjoyment it brings me. The wages are exiguous - it's kind of like working for peanuts... except there are no peanuts. The benefits are all non-tangible perquisites (Dave is really stingy with the raises, but don't let him know I told you that) related to my love of the game and ability to express myself.

Special players like Gerald Green help make this worthwhile. He is truly a treasure. He does things that almost no other NBA players can do.

I don't know your viewing habits, but I enjoy being wowed. Every time Green steps on the court I find myself wondering if he's about to enter fire mode on NBA Jam. Markieff Morris (as a random whipping boy) just doesn't do that for me.

Sure, Markieff has been very productive this year. He's been relatively steady, too (2-14 vs. Houston notwithstanding). But Gerald Green is like a trip to Disneyland in comparison to the Markieff Morris root canal.

With Gerald I expectantly await the amazing. He might account for half of the team's best highlights by himself. When Green cuts off a passing lane and breaks into the open court I hold my breath awaiting the impending doom of the opponent's rim. When Dragic or Bledsoe does that, I am very confident they'll make their layup.

Green plays with a contagious passion and energy. Raw emotion.

I've even appointed Green his very own theme music.

But not everything burns bright white for Gerald this season.

Green has seen his minutes wizen from 28.4 per game last season to 21.8 so far this season. This is despite the fact that he is averaging 24.0 points per 36 minutes, good for ninth in the league among players with at least 10 appearances. Marreese Speights is the only reserve above him on the list.

Surely some of this drop off is due to the arrival of Isaiah Thomas, who happens to be tenth in the league in points per 36, but Green has still only averaged 23.7 minutes in the last six games Isaiah has missed.

Green has five games of at least 20 points this season through 21 games. Last season he had 25 such games when he started 48 times and appeared in all 82. Green has yet to miss a game since coming to the Suns.

In his reduced role, Green is still eighth in the league in made three pointers (46) and pacing for 180 on the season. Last season he was fourth with 204.

Just like his backcourt brethren, Green has felt the crunch from the crowded conditions. All four horsemen have seen a reduction in raw production. Like Dragic, Green is in a contract year. Like Dragic, Green is playing for his last big payday.

This is a delicate situation for one of my favorite playes on the team. Green was a starter by necessity for a good part of last season due to injuries to Eric Bledsoe. Green actually played the fourth most minutes per game, behind only Dragic, Bledsoe and P.J. Tucker.

This season Green is eighth.

So what is the plan for Green?

How does one monetarily quantify Green's value as a player who can almost single-handedly carry a team to victory about 20 games a season? What is market value for one of the best and most impactful reserves in the league? How about the entertainment value that is an inherent part of Green's game? Gerald is must see tv.

Including this season, Gerald has made less than $16 million in his NBA career. With the pending escalation of the salary cap I imagine that he is probably looking to double that on a four year deal this summer. While Isaiah was a bargain, will Green have a hard time breaking $30 million?

Two years ago Jamal Crawford signed a four year, ~$21 million contract. He was 32. Gerald will be 29 this summer.

What are Green's ambitions? With the paucity of elite talent at the shooting guard position in the NBA Green could undoubtedly find a starting role with a team this summer. Of the top 30 scoring shooting guards in the NBA only Lou Williams of the Toronto Raptors plays less minutes than Green.

Will money and situation create a rift between Green and the Suns? Will he end up being the odd man out... the green kangaroo?


Which may very well lead to the Suns being a less exciting team... and that would be a shame.

Check out this compilation of all 57 of Green's dunks from last season for a reminder why...

After an easy schedule to start the season, the Phoenix Suns face a daunting slate of games through early January. By January 11, the Suns will have played 24 road games versus only 16 home games. That kind of scheduling makes you think the Grinch himself made the Suns schedule.

The good news is that the Suns can get those roadies out of the way earlier in the year, leaving the second half of the season's slate full of home games when the pressure ratchets up a few notches.

But for now, the road is the Suns' path to contention. Or, at least, the relevancy.

Coach Hornacek explained last week that the Suns have split their schedule into 4-game sets - home vs. away. If the Suns can win 3 out of each 4 home games and split each 4-game set of roadies, they would have 50 wins at the end of the year and would likely make the playoffs.

So far, the Suns are behind the bar at home (6-4) and slightly ahead of the bar on the road (6-5). Unfortunately, the team failed to capitalize on an opening schedule that put 7 of the first 9 games at home. But two of their early games were back-to-back sets, with the Suns dropping both of them in ignominious fashion.

After that, the Suns have spent a lot of time on the road, with 10 of 14 away from Phoenix including four back-to-back sets culminating in Tuesday's home game against scrappy Miami. The Miami game looks winnable, except that it will be the Suns' fourth game in five days, a night after trying not to be embarrassed by the Clippers in LA.

So while the schedule has looked quite manageable so far in terms of opponent winning percentage, the devil is in the road games. Those are notoriously difficult to win, no matter how easy the opponent.

And the Suns aren't done on the road yet. Including Monday's Clipper game (above), the Suns still have 9 road games coming (versus 4 home games) between now and January 11. These upcoming games including four more back-to-backs where the Suns are 1-4 already in second game of those sets.

Making matters worse, there's only a couple of winnable games based on how well these teams are playing. The Suns face a daunting task of staying afloat between now and January 11.

Let's hope Isaiah Thomas comes back soon to add a little more firepower to the offense, which has sputtered in three of the past six games without him.

Rate the players' performances versus the Houston Rockets on Saturday, December 6, 2014.

The Suns lost to the Houston Rockets on Saturday night, dropping to 1-4 on the second game of back-to-back sets this year.

Rate each player's performance on that game alone.

Sports & Games Lists on Ranker
It was an ugly game for the Suns, who really looked sluggish from start to finish. Despite the fact that Houston was without all-star center Dwight Howard, Phoenix got absolutely crushed on the...

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