Weekly Average: 18 points, 12 assists, 5 rebounds, 3 steals in 39 minutes of play
What an impressive week from the Dragon. Not only did he reach a career high in assists against Portland with 18 (Tied for the second highest of any point guard so far this season), he racked up 10 assists in each of his other games as well. Top that off with his 18 point scoring, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals per game averages, and you can easily say this was the best week of his career so far. More please!
Weekly Average: 12 points, 9 rebounds, 1 block in 20 minutes of play
Jermaine O'Neal is playing at such a high level right now that it's almost a shame he doesn't get to do it for a team who could really use him. Don't get me wrong, apparently he wants to be here and the Suns love having him as well as the fans, but I can't understand why a contender didn't offer up a solid deal to acquire him. O'Neal outplayed his younger, starting counter part this week, and it wasn't the first time he's done so either. He's a force to be reckoned with down low and is playing great basketball all-around.
Weekly Average: 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assist in 18 minutes of play
Scola's minutes have been inconsistent lately...Playing as many as 30 some nights and as little as 14 on others. Still, when he's on the court he's one of the most reliable options the Suns have, and he produces accordingly. Luis is the consummate professional of the team and you know what to expect from him night in and night out.
Weekly Average: 11 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists in 30 minutes of play
Dudley bounced back from a disappointing couple of weeks and started getting back to his old self recently. I believe the trade rumors affected him more than most people realize, and it likely hurt his production. Now that all of that is over, I expect Dudley to re-energize and get continue to get back to doing what he does best.
Weekly Average: 10 points, 5 rebounds, 1 block in 23 minutes of play
Gortat just didn't seem to really get in going this week. His averages were down across the board, and he never reached double-digit rebounding all week...even against the small front line of Boston. Not sure if it's rust from the All-Star break, or a post-trade rumor malaise, but the Suns need the Polish machine back and fast.
Weekly Average: 5 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists in 26 minutes of play
Tucker still isn't lighting up the score board or the stat line, but if you watch the games you know exactly how important he is to the team. P.J. is also starting to get more comfortable on the offensive end of the ball and is demonstrating a nice all-around game lately. Let's hope he continues to progress in this respect...the Suns could sure use it.
Weekly Average: 8 points, 5 rebounds in 20 minutes of play
Smilin' Wes has a lot to smile about this week. He has finally been "freed", and for the most part earned his stay in the rotation. Johnson is what he is, a catch and shoot perimeter wing who can defend and rebound pretty well. In this respect he did fairly well this week, going 9/19 from the field overall.
Weekly Average: 8 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assists in 21 minutes of play
Morris has been struggling lately, but he seemed to do pretty well against the Celtics scoring 11 points on 5/8 shooting (without taking any three point shots). Maybe bringing in his brother Marcus will be just what the doctor ordered for both of these players. Maybe Markieff will let his brother focus on the perimeter scoring while he gets back to doing what he does best...scoring in the paint.
Weekly Average: 6 points, 3 rebounds in 13 minutes of play
After several consecutive weeks of Beasley showing improvement and becoming productive, Beasley took a pretty big step back again this week. He shot an ugly and inefficient 6/22 over the past three games while jacking up poor shot selections (which of course goes hand-in-hand). Beas has the skill to be one of the top 3 players on the team when he's playing with his head screwed on right...hopefully head coach Lindsey Hunter can get him re-focused.
Weekly Average: 2 points, 3 assists in 13 minutes of play
Marshall wasn't much of a factor this week, and topped it off with a pretty bad game against the Celtics going 1/7 from the field and only registering 4 assists in 19 minutes of play. In Marshall's defense, his shots didn't look bad and they nearly all rimmed out; but if they don't drop they don't count. I like the fact he is taking more shots and trying to become more aggressive though, he will need to continue to do this as a big part of his development going forward.
*Honorable Mention - Marcus Morris
Weekly Average (1 game): 7 points, 2 rebounds in 6 minutes of play
Although this is only a top ten list, and Marcus certainly didn't play enough to crack the weekly rankings, I had to at least included a short blurb about how well he played in his very limited minutes with zero practice time against Boston. Marcus wasn't even expected to play against the Celtics after arriving the night before once officially traded to the Suns for a second round pick, but the newest Morris twin was given 6 minutes of garbage time once the game got out of hand and immediately stepped in and produced. Yes it was against the Celtic backups during exhibition time, but the offensive skills of Marcus were easily apparent. I expect to see him make the top 10 list next week...Who will he supplant?
So there you have it. Feel free to share your opinion in the comments below!
There is a not so subtle theme brewing in 2013 and we are just a few short months into the calendar year. In February the Harbaugh Brothers met on the gridiron for the Super Bowl and now with the recent acquisition of Marcus Morris by the Phoenix Suns there is brotherly love on the hardwood.
Marcus and Markieff Morris were teammates for 109 games in college, all throughout high school, and on the playgrounds coming up in Philadelphia. For the first time ever, for the last two years -- 698 days, they are back on the basketball court playing basketball together like they were telepathically born to do.
The duo is now reunited in Phoenix taking their journey from Philadelphia, to Kansas, and now to Phoenix (after a brief stint in Houston for Marcus).
Houston was never a situation that was comfortable for Marcus playing the first year and a half there including a stint in the Developmental League. The Rockets are a very deep at the time with a lot of players in similar positions and Marcus ended being the odd man out of the rotation.
"No, to be honest I never felt comfortable or myself (in Houston)," Marcus told me after his debut. "I don't feel a lot of people know my game because I had to take a backseat or the hid me in the back. I think here I will be able to open up and play my game and show everybody what I can do."
Getting traded to Phoenix was "exciting" and he "couldn't stop smiling." His debut included a pull-up three in transition, another long jumper, and two free-throws. All of those came while on the court in an unexpected appearance in a big loss to the Boston Celtics.
Now he can get back to feeling comfortable on the basketball court.
"It was cool man, I felt real comfortable, and I felt like myself for the first time in a while. I felt a little rusty, but as time goes on I will get better."
When they were in Kansas the duo was as effective as they come. Marcus was the scorer, Markieff was the rebounder, and they went on to win 101 games (six tournament games) in three years. The offense was cohesive with Marcus on the perimeter and Markieff in the paint to a tune of the 8th best offense in the Nation in 2010-2011.
Stylistically what they did in college is translatable to the next level. Marcus stretches the floor with his ability to shoot and handle the ball while Markieff cleans it all up in the paint.
"We have been intrigued for quite some time about the potential synergy from having both of the Morris twins on our team. So we are excited to have the opportunity to welcome Marcus to the Suns," said Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby.
Twin Magic as it has been coined has been a tale of two talents in the NBA as there is one more talented brother with the other being the his keeper. The Suns are all too familiar with that trend as they watched Robin Lopez and Taylor Griffin both play in the overcast shadow of their brothers Brook Lopez and Blake Griffin while here.
In college Markieff was Marcus' keeper, but that all changes as this is his team from a tenure standpoint, and to this point he has outplayed his brother on this level.
As Lon Babby pointed out, "the potential synergy" is intriguing, as is the potential that these two get back to their days playing Kansas as a potent 1-2 punch. The rational fear is that Markieff reverts back to where he was his entire life as a basketball player, back in the shadows of his older brother.
Can they replicate that off of the bench in the NBA? Time will tell on that, but the one thing that will happen is the two will be as happy and motivated as they ever have been as professionals.
"Definitely, for sure. You cannot just come in and think they are going to give you a spot," said Marcus about trying to avoid a similar situation with deep Suns roster. "
"So everyday -- day in and day out, I am going to do the same thing I did in Houston because I felt like I could have been with the starters over there or been playing significant minutes there. They played who they wanted to play over there. I think it will be a different situation here, people get a chance to go here."
The bench is poised with rookie Kendall Marshall leading the way and a litany of wings capable of playing alongside the twins in the front-court. This could lead to more time at the five for Markieff as he has the perfect mentor to help him transition from an offensive four to a dual threat five.
With Marcus and Markieff all set to sit next to each other on the bench in purple and orange the best should be brought out of both, but good luck to Interim Head Coach Lindsey Hunter in knowing who he is subbing in as he stares down the bench.
Minutes after the final buzzer of a 113-86 loss to the Garnett-less, Rondo-less Boston Celtics, at home, hosting a team just 8-17 on the road and losers of two straight, Lindsey Hunter realized just how hard his job is going to be.
It smacked him in the face.
And it rained down on him from the stands, which happened to be full of Celtics fans on this night. By late in the fourth quarter, they were cheering louder than at most any time of this long, dreadful season. Except they were cheering for the Celtics, who hit everything they put up because it felt like a home game to them.
"That is totally unacceptable, coaching wise and player wise," he ranted. "The way we performed tonight, that cannot happen. I know people say all the time you cannot coach effort. I disagree because I am responsible and I feel like if I got to coach effort then that is what I have to do."
Teams often take on the persona of their coach, and Lindsey Hunter's career was defined by a defense-oriented moxie that wouldn't take any crap from anyone.
These Suns are nothing like that player, and that's why Hunter is here despite having no coaching experience.
"They had no respect for us," he continued. "I mean that is embarrassing. One of their Hall of Famers didn't play and they still come in here and smack you around like a punching bag and you are at home and there is no resistance.
"That is just not who I am and that is not who this team will be. "
"Whatever we have to do, whatever method, it will be done," he continued. "If guys [in the rotation] think they are entitled, then they won't play. If we have to pull guys out for not making rotations, then we will shuffle the deck until we find guys that are going to do what we have to do. Simple as that."
At this point in the season, making a fundamental change in the way a team plays the game of basketball is a tough thing to do. Games come fast and furious, and there's only two months left in the season.
But Hunter isn't buying any of those excuses.
"I guarantee you we will change or we will be practicing until they kick us out of the gym. Disrespectful, that's what I take that as. Just being disrespected.
"My father always told my always demand respect and while I am here we are going to work until we learn how to demand respect and I do not care how long it takes. I do not care how guys think we are going too hard or too long. Too bad."
From this point on, we will see what kind of coach Lindsey Hunter is. We will see if he can impose his will, his style on this team. In Hunter's mind, the Suns would scratch and claw from the opening tip to the final buzzer every single night.
That's what to watch for the rest of the season.
How much conviction and control does Lindsey Hunter have over his team? Does he really have the stones and latitude to bench some talented players for lack of effort? Can he really play Diante Garrett 30 minutes a night, while a high-paid guy watches the whole game from the bench?
Hunter is looking for effort. Consistent effort.
Let's see what he can do.