More often than not, there's one player in every team's rotation that indicates wins vs losses because of their inconsistency. In the Phoenix Suns case, that player has so far been backup power forward Markieff Morris.

The Phoenix Suns are surprising the NBA with rolling a playoff caliber team out on the court every night. No longer is the rhetoric about tanking, but rather about playoff positioning and adding to the win totals.

What still confounds the NBA pundits is just HOW the Suns are doing this. They traded most of their best veterans players away, drafted the longest-term prospects possible and fielded a team of end-of-bench warmers on opening night.

With the success of newcomers Miles Plumlee (55 NBA minutes before this season), Eric Bledsoe (20 minutes a night his first 3 NBA seasons), Channing Frye (technically new, after missing a year with a heart ailment) and Gerald Green (out of league for years until 2011), the Suns are setting a new standard for turning one person's trash into their own treasure.

But it's the improvement of a pair of returning twins that has really turned the Suns fortunes for the better. In the third NBA season, Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris are producing career years as role players off the bench with career-high numbers off the bench.

Markieff Morris, in just 25.2 minutes per game as the first big off the bench, is posting career highs in points (12.2), rebounds (6.1), steals (1.0), assists (1.7), field goal shooting (.486), free throw shooting (.771) and free throws per game (3.5).

Marcus Morris, in just 22.8 minutes per game, is posting career highs in points (10.3), rebounds (4.5), steals (1.0), assists (0.9), field goal shooting (.434), three-point shooting (.397), free throw shooting (.746) and free throws per game (2.0).

And while their consistency from game to game is still an issue, they have each improved in that area a great deal. The Suns this season are already 20-12 after finishing last season at a dismal 25-57.

Head coach Jeff Hornacek, just like Alvin Gentry and Lindsey Hunter before him, starts every evaluation of the Morris twins with some variation of "When they are engaged..."

Suns fans know this with the eye-ball test. You can tell early on whether the Morris brothers are engaged in the game or not. When they are engaged, their moves are faster, their defense tighter, their shot selection better. When they are checked out, the shots become constested fallaways and effort from play to play is an adventure.

But the twins are not entirely identical when comparing their performance in wins and losses. Marcus may not be entirely consistent, but his inconsistency has not led to wins vs. losses. Just last week, Marcus went 0-fer against the Clippers and Grizzlies, but the Suns went 1-1.

But when Keef is on his game, the Suns win. When he's not, they are more likely to lose.

Look at the difference in productivity for the entire 8-man rotation in win vs. losses. Each column shows the plus/minus difference in wins vs. losses for each player, with the first column being the average of all 8 major rotation players.


*Miles Plumlee's 'Assists per 36' is actually 'BLOCKS per 36'. Everyone else is 'Assists per 36'.

Each column shows the difference in a win vs. a loss, on a per-game or per-36 minute basis. Each of these players gets 20-35 minutes per game, so a per-36 comparison is a way to level the field.

Of course, every player plays a little better in a win. It's quite unlikely that a major rotation player is better in a loss, especially on a per-minute or per-possession basis.

The two players who stand out the most in wins vs. losses are 24-year olds Eric Bledsoe and Markieff Morris. When they shoot well, the Suns win. When they don't, the Suns are more likely to lose.

On a team whose scoring margin for the season is 3.2 points per game, when a player swings 5+ points/per 36 minutes between wins and losses, you can surmise that he is the key to winning.

In raw numbers, Markieff Morris plays 4.5 more minutes per game in wins vs. losses, with a raw scoring differential of nearly 6 whole points, which is a clear indication that the coaching staff can see the difference in Markieff from game to game as well.

With Bledsoe being out for at least the next week, the remaining rotation player who can be seen as the barometer between wins and losses is Markieff Morris.

The good thing, for a team embarking on a 5-game road trip without Bledsoe, is that Morris has been better on the road than he's been at home this season. In roughly the same minutes, Keef does everything slightly better on the road - scoring, shooting, rebounding and passing.

Like it or not, Keef Morris leads the Suns to wins and losses.

Let's hope that he has a very good road trip for a team that needs the wins.

PHOENIX – Ish Smith dunked. Had the 6-foot, third-string Phoenix Suns guard not had to compete with one of the best dunkers in the NBA, it might’ve been the most fun moment of the night in...

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Here is a recap of the fan sitting behind me who was more entertaining (or annoying) than the game itself... Kidding, this is about the game.

It took more effort than probably anticipated, but the Phoenix Suns improve to 20-12 with a victory against the league-worst Milwaukee Bucks at home. The final score was a 16-point win (116-100), but the game was much closer late in the game than it should have been.

Now the Suns hit the road for five games in seven nights, all against teams at or below .500 this season.

Performance of the night goes to Gerald Green with 24 points and five steals in the win. He jumped passing lanes for highlight dunks and knocked down a few clutch threes as well. Good overall performance. He was complimented by Channing Frye's 22 points and 14 points off the bench for Markieff Morris.

First Quarter

Early on in this game the Suns got exactly what they needed with Eric Bledsoe out with a sprained right knee. The offense was spread out between the entire team and they got points from six different players while Goran Dragic scored zero. This is coming off his career-high 33 the other night. Channing Frye and P.J. Tucker did the heavy lifting with 8 points a piece helping the Suns hump out to an early lead, but the Bucks kept in the game with scrappy persistence and Caron Butler's 8 points off the bench.

Suns lead, 28-26

Second Quarter

This is where the Suns blew the game open for themselves with 12 points from Gerald Green and a 32 point quarter overall from the team. Green got hot nailing a pair of threes and with one major windmill dunk in transition. The team only shot 47.8% from the field, but forced 8 turnovers and got out in transition scoring 16 points off of those turnovers.

Suns lead, 60-49

Third Quarter

The Bucks rallied in the third with 11 points from Brandon Knight and 8 strong points from O.J. Mayo who decided this was a good opportunity for a pissing contest with a 19 year old rookie. Midway through the quarter after Mayo fouled rookie Archie Goodwin he decided to get into a verbal exchange with him and then spent the rest of the quarter showing the rookie "that he is a rookie." It was silly and embarrassing for the 26 year old veteran.

If anything it worked because the Suns lead was cut to as little as seven points in the third quarter and the team was disjointed.

Suns lead, 87-78

Fourth Quarter

For as bad as the third quarter was the Suns found their footing shooting down the Bucks comeback attempt short and mounting them on the wall here at U.S. Airways Center. After middling with them some the offense and defense came together to (well at least the offense) to fuel the victory. Green and Ish Smith had some fun highlights with breakaway dunks off of terrible passes. The Bucks did a terrible job telegraphing passes late leading to Suns transition dunks and putting the game away.

Suns win, 116-100

PHOENIX – It could be concerning that the Suns allowed the league’s worst team in terms of offensive ratings and second-worst field goal shooting team (42 percent) to hit 54.4 percent and score...

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Compiled by Bright Side user rookieyear.

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