As we have well established by now, the fine folk at SB Nation Arizona compile a weekly power ranking of sorts of the Phoenix Suns players. Typically, the top spot is reserved for Steve Nash. In fact, I suspect that three years after he retires, Nash might still be in the top spot.

This week, Marcin Gortat returned to the role of second fiddle while Frye, Redd, Hill and Dudley round out the next four. Personally, I would have put Jared a bit higher but that's how these things go with power rankings.

Here's a link to the list so you can check them out and then come back and provide your own list/critique/recipe for fried avocado.

Phoenix Suns Player Thermometer, Week 8: Gortat Back To Polish Hammering - Desert Dirt - SB Nation Arizona
It was a week in which the Phoenix Suns got throttled by the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Lakers got throttled by the Phoenix Suns. The team also lost a back-to-back-to-back that was painful to watch. But, Marcin Gortat got some of his groove back and Channing Frye seems to have found some consistency. Also, Steve Nash distributed the ball like only Cap'n Nash can. As is the norm for this year's team, this week was a mixed bag.

Mahalo amigos

Alvin Gentry recently made an appearance on XTRA 910 with Bickley and MJ. The questions were pretty typical and the answers were, too. The good news is at least Gentry answered some more poignant questions or allowed his interviewers to ask some poignant questions as opposed to Mr. Babby, whose appearance on the show a couple of weeks ago was a waste of everyone's time.

Some interesting responses including the following:

  • The acknowlegement that the Suns are basically a 4 player squad:

"...Marcin (Gortat) is playing great. He’s really playing well. Steve is playing great, Grant (Hill) is doing a good job for us defensively, we’ve had some other guys like Jared Dudley step up..."

  • Discusses the Suns' achilles heel(s) (which, BTW is a much less problematic metaphor than talking about chinks in armor):

"I think we have to be consistent and have some consistency off our bench. If we do that we’ve been able to compete with most of the teams... We have not been able to finish games. We have to find a way to do that for 48 minutes. Not 32 minutes, 38 minutes, or 42 minutes, we’ve got to be able to do it for 48 and that’s where we’ve struggled a little bit..."

  • Of course the idea of trading Steve Nash (I believe was Bickley asking), which was promptly shut down by Gentry in the easiest manner possible, basically "it's not my job to make trades." HA!

Overall, Gentry didn't say a whole lot that we already hadn't heard before. I did find it interesting that while talking about the Suns inability to close teams out, he calls on the fans to help: "...not only to we need to step up, but your fans have to step up as well..."

Check out the audio and full transcript:

Alvin Gentry Refuses to Waste His Energy Thinking About the Future of Steve Nash

"...I know it’s been said that Kobe (Bryant) has this passion or hate for us but you know we’re not exactly in love with them either so the feeling is pretty mutual there. We haven’t had the success that we have had in the past against them but I thought our guys did a great job of battling against them last night and competing like crazy."

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Markieff brings a swagger and toughness not often seen in rookies.

When the Phoenix Suns selected Markieff Morris with the 13th overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft, many Suns fans groaned at the team again picking the "lesser brother" between Markieff and his brother Marcus.

Now, two months into the season, Morris has developed into the Suns most dependable bench player, averaging 8.1 points and 5.0 rebounds in 21 minutes per game and shooting an excellent 41% from behind the arc.

Morris was selected by a pool of the league's assistant coaches to play in the All-Star Weekend's Rising Stars game as he's the Suns first impact rookie since Amare Stoudemire in 2002. For the Suns to rebuild into a contender, it will take a lot more draft day successes like the Morris selection. Seeing him blossom into a solid player so quickly is an encouraging start.

Lesser brother? Hardly. Markieff Morris is the Phoenix Suns game-changer.

The widely used word to describe Markieff Morris after the draft was "tough". As Alvin Gentry said at the Suns news conference to introduce Morris: "We need a guy that can add some toughness to our team."

Morris credited his mother Thomasine for his toughness, and while Gentry might have been excited for Morris' physical toughness to bring to the Suns front line, Markieff seemed to be referring to mental toughness, resilience, work ethic and, as the matching tattoos of his and his brother Marcus read, "Family Over Everything."

That has been on display this season, as Morris has had a few bumps along the way, to be expected from any rookie, but works his way through them. He's had difficulties avoiding foul trouble and was uncomfortable playing with the starters early, but he continues to show improved consistency, bringing a lift and stability to a Suns second unit which desperately needs it.

Drafted for his interior defense, rebounding and toughness, Morris has also lived up to his billing as a top-notch 3-point shooter. This has been a tremendous help as Suns veteran stretch big man Channing Frye got off to a slow start. Morris has shown promise in his post game as well, though he still hasn't added much as a pick and roll finisher to his repertoire yet.

There is still plenty in Morris' offensive arsenal, though, as he's scored in double figures in 5 of the last 7 games, including 10 points and 8 rebounds versus the vaunted Lakers front line of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in the Suns big win Sunday night.

The Suns haven't had a rookie play this well in nearly 10 years. That is a game-changer.

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Phoenix Suns fans are not alone in deriving extra special pleasure in seeing the Los Angeles Lakers fail. Kings fans, Clippers fans, Trail Blazers fans and, of course, Celtics fans all share in the joy that comes with beating the Lakers on the court or seeing them struggle off.

There is no word in the English language that expresses this feeling better than "Schadenfreude" which roughly translates from German to: "to observe or think about something with triumphant and often malicious satisfaction, gratification, or delight"

That pretty much sums up the feeling non-Lakers fans get when reading about the mess that has become of the Los Angeles Lakers ownership and front office.


Kobe's frustration a reflection on Lakers' deteriorating front office - NBA - News
The Lakers are a mess, have been decaying for a few years now. Once one of the finest and classiest organizations in sports, it is no longer a fun place to work, to put it mildly. From the Odom salary dump to nearly the entire scouting staff being thrown overboard, pennies are being pinched at a time when the Lakers have entered a 20-year regional cable deal worth a reported $3 billion.

"For such a storied franchise, supposedly first class and all that, it's not what you think behind the bars there," said the person who has dealt with the Lakers as a longtime executive with other teams. "It's overrated."

You really need to read the entire article to get the full sense (and pleasure) of the situation.

It's a good day to be a Laker-hater.

Here's how the Lakers fans are seeing things (in case you needed more reason to smile):

The Los Angeles Lakers And The Fall Of Empires - Silver Screen and Roll
You don't need to read between the lines to see storm clouds gathering around the Los Angeles Lakers. You need only observe the negativity surrounding all facets of the franchise.

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What's more satisfying?

  101 votes | Results

PHOENIX — In two consecutive games, the Phoenix Suns have blown out opponents, but for whatever reason, it took a little bit longer to get into kill-shot mood against the Washington Wizards a...

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