With Goran Dragic appearing to be firmly in control of the player of the week for the foreseeable future, it's time to switch things up a bit and look at other players on the roster who are stepping up and making a difference. Let's kick things off by looking at one of the more overlooked contributors on the court this week...Markieff Morris.

The NBA is all about which player and team can rule the court in the most epic fashion and Bright Side of the Sun has teamed up with Crown Royal to rank the best of the best Phoenix Suns players each and every week. Which player ruled the court this week? #ReignOn

Markieff Morris aka "Chief Keef"

Weekly Stat Averages:

Points: 16.2 FG%: .484 Rebounds: 6.2 Assists: 2.0 Blocks: 1.2

Markieff Morris appears to be finally turning the corner and finding his rhythm on the Phoenix Suns. After showing flashes of potential over his first couple of season, but struggling to remain consistent, Keef is stringing together many more good games together while greatly reducing his bad ones...and becoming not only the star of the bench, but one of the most versatile players on the team.

Keef averaged around 26 minutes per game this week, which is actually on par with most of the starters, save for Miles Plumlee who averages less. So even though he is coming off the bench as a sixth man, he is definitely one of the key components of the Suns, and a big reason for their success as well.

This week, Keef exploded for what was his best all around performance of the season, scoring 27 points and grabbing 15 rebounds against the Cleveland Cavaliers on the road. While he would never come close to matching that performance again the rest of the week, he still played very well overall, scorning in double figures in all five games.

Although Markieff is still prone to inconsistency at times, it's a far cry from the type of inconsistency he exhibited over the past couple of seasons. This season, his is averaging 12.8 points per game, .481 FG%, and 5.8 rebounds per game...by far his best stat line of his three seasons on the Suns. Even more promising is the fact that he is still improving those numbers overall, as his good games become more frequent and his bad games less so.

Hopefully, this trend will continue, as he gives the Suns an added dimension that they simply can't replace without him on the floor. Sure, Frye gives them spacing and can score in bunches from beyond the arc. But Keef is very adept at scoring from all over the floor. He can put the ball on the ground and take his opponent to the basket, shoot a mid-range jumper off the dribble, or even hit the three which he is doing a lot less of, but at a much higher percentage than seasons' past.

Markieff may never be a star player, but he is proving to be a very solid player, and a bargain as the 13th overall pick in the 2010 draft. Just a season ago, many fans were lamenting his spot on the roster and would have been content to trade him away for a six pack and a bag of chips. Thankfully that didn't happen, and he is turning into an important part of this team, and another valuable asset should the Suns ever choose to go a different direction...not saying it will happen, but you know...McDonough.

For now though, let's just appreciate the player Markieff has finally become and how much he has helped the Suns this season. Here's hoping Keef can continue to play at a high level and continue his progression on an upward trend. With Bledsoe still out and the Suns making a valiant push for the post season, Keef will continue to be an integral part of the offense, and a valuable part of the team as a whole going forward.


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PHOENIX — Goran Dragic’s unassuming statistics last year and the Phoenix Suns’ depressing record made him an overlooked NBA amenity. The Suns are winning in 2013-14, so of course...

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The Suns cooled off Al Jefferson plus Goran Dragic continued to show why he belongs in the All Star Game.

There was no let down for the Phoenix Suns Saturday night at US Airways Center.  They returned home and made quick of the Charlotte Bobcats with a 105-95 win and the game wasn't as close as the score showed.

The Suns led by as much as 27 points and the last time they trailed was at 13-10 less than midway through the first quarter.

That opening quarter belonged to Goran Dragic, who scored 15 of his 25 points on 5-7 shooting, 1-1 from deep and 4-5 at the line.

"It was just in the flow of the game," explained Dragic about his hot start.  "Not only me, we tried to start good as a team, tried to build the lead and get into halftime with a 10 point advantage"

Phoenix accomplished their goal leading by 18 when they headed into the locker room mostly on the back of a scorching second quarter from Marcus Morris.

Morris scored 13 of his 15 points knocking down 5-6 shots and two threes.  During the four games the team played from January 22nd to January 27th Morris averaged five points on four shots and 43.8% shooting.  He's regained his rhythm the last three putting up double figures in each while shooting 54.8% from the field.

More important than anything the Suns did on the offensive end they were able to slow down Bobcats center Al Jefferson.

Jefferson was coming off a three game stretch where he averaged 35.7 points and 14 rebounds was held to 10 points and six rebounds.  Big Al struggled shooting 4-15 from the field.

Miles Plumlee, Channing Frye, Alex Len and Markieff Morris all saw time defending Jefferson.

"We wanted to keep throwing guys at him," said Coach Hornacek after the game. "Sometimes it's the case of a guy gets an early foul so we switched over and put Channing on him. We didn't want any of our guys to get two quick ones.  When you got a bunch of bigs you can continually rotate guys on him just for the purpose of fouls and plus someone be fresh on him at all times.  You have to have that to play against him."

"You got to make it hard," continued Hornacek regarding their strategy with Jefferson. "We want to try push him out, catch it farther out, pressure on the passer so they can't throw a nice easy pass to him.  Then when he makes his moves and spins you gotta have other guys there."

Frye, whose reputation on the defensive end isn't heralded, was a big part of the defense on the Bobcats center. Big Al gets added to the list of Blake Griffin and Kevin Love as efficient scoring bigs Frye has helped slow down.

"He's a load man," said Frye about Jefferson. "I just didn't want him to have 40 on me.  He's playing pretty much as good as basketball as Kevin Durant the last 5 or 6 games.  He's a workload down there and I saw him get comfortable early and I got to figure out a way to turn his water off.  My teammates did a great job of helping me and sticking with the plan making sure the second and third options he felt like someone was there to mix it up.  I just battled, I just wanted to make him tired and work for it."

As a team the Suns held Charlotte to 41% shooting and through the first three quarters it was an even more impressive 36.7% before letting things get a little slopping in the final 12 minutes.

The Suns have won five straight to get to a season high 11 games over .500. Their next four games are against teams .500 or better starting with the Bulls at home on Tuesday.

Other Notes

  • In the short amount of time Len spent on Jefferson he did a nice job. He also had a good contest forcing Ramon Sessions to miss what looked like it was going to be an open lay up.
  • It was a quiet night from Leandro Barbosa. He only played 8:57, but did hit 2-3 shots.
  • Ish Smith was solid. The offense went through a lull when Dragic was taken out in the first half and Barbosa was the lone ball handling guard. It sparked back up when Smith and Barbosa played together.
PHOENIX – Before the Phoenix Suns faced the Charlotte Bobcats, Jeff Hornacek wondered how his team would respond following a four-game road swing in five nights. In all four of those games, hectic...

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The Suns are finally back at home and will be at US Airways Center for eight of the next 10. Can Phoenix win its fifth straight?

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