In this week's episode of the Sunscast podcast we talk about the changes to the Phoenix Suns starting lineup with Markieff Morris asking to go back to the bench and Josh Childress being allowed to showcase his skills and play to his strengths as a slasher and creator. We also discuss the revised expectations for the Suns season.

Mostly though, in this episode hosts Seth Pollack and Bryan Gibberman argue fiercely for and against the idea that the Suns should tank so they can rebuild through the draft.

Gibberman argues that the only way to eventually compete for an NBA title is to spend years being bad enough to get top draft picks. Pollack argues that losing is losing and you can't gear your entire strategy around losing the most possible games.

Subscribe on iTunes or stream online after the jump. You can find all the past episodes here.

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Careful, we're listening, Markieff (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

In an interview with Arizona Sports, Suns rookie power forward Markieff Morris admitted he asked Alvin Gentry if he could come off the bench:

"When I was starting I was taking a backseat...For me I was kind of deferring to Gortat and Steve and Grant. I felt like I was just out on the court. I felt like I wasn't doing anything."

Um, so why weren't you doing anything? You don't need the ball to do things when you are on the court. Hm.

You can't blame Morris for wanting to go back to a more productive role coming off the bench, where he averages 8 and 5, as opposed to his mostly awful numbers as a starter. However, I am not so sure what kind of message that sends to Alvin Gentry and the general public. On one hand you have a Josh Childress dying for minutes yet continuing his mantra of team first. I'm ready, I'll do whatever coach wants, when he wants it. I'm ready to go. Morris however sees himself as a bench guy:

"I just told Alvin I think it would be better if I come off the bench and bring that spark off the bench."

There's nothing wrong with providing a spark off the bench, but if the rookie really means what he says, you don't have to read too much into his words to believe that he wants to establish his own role, and what the coach my think or say doesn't much matter.

"I know my role...I have to be aggressive because I'm one of the go-to guys off the bench."

Yes Markieff, but your team is lacking go-to guys in the starting lineup, too. And you were placed in the starting lineup due in part to your success coming off the bench. I suppose he hasn't realized that or has career aspirations of winning consecutive "6th Man of the Year."

I'm not going to lambaste the rookie over these comments. He is young. And youngsters often say things they do not mean. Heck, I say plenty of things I don't mean, and I'm old. But I would think a rookie who wants to play NBA ball for a long time would have a few tag lines in his repertoire ready at all times.

So, since I am mostly a nice guy, a fan of Markieff and the Suns, I would like to help the youngster. Call it taking him under my wing from afar. Here are a few simple quotes Markieff can use to stave off any doubts about what he is here to do:

1. "I'm just here to help my team win as many games possible. I'll come off the bench if coach wants or I'll be a starter. Whatever coach wants me to do."

2. "Playing with Steve Nash in the first unit is an honor and I'm very thankful to have the opportunity to play with a future hall of famer."

3. "Playing with Grant Hill in the first unit is an honor and I'm very thankful to have the opportunity to play with a man of such high character. I'm also learning a lot just watching him. He's the ultimate professional"

4. "I'm thankful that Channing Frye is sucking so bad because it gives me the chance to play starters minutes." (SARC)

5. "I didn't come into the NBA to sit on the bench. Coach thinks I'm a starter, and I'm going to play like a starter.

Hey, that was fun. Can you all think of some things
Markieff could say that would leave us no
doubt that he's here to be a beast?

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PHOENIX — Records mean little in terms of success or failure. Moreso do they validate long-term presence. In the Phoenix Suns’ history books, Steve Nash’s franchise assist record...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]

There's a lot of ways to "count" and use "mathematical tricks" to create "statistics" that measure the relative performance of various players. We count their points to determine scoring leaders. We average their shooting rates to determine efficiency. We use regression analysis to measure the correlation between shoe size and points per possession to calculate their Podiatric Efficiency Determinant (PED).

OK, I made the last one up but come on, how awesome would that stat be!

PEDs aside, SB Nation's NBA National Editor Tom Ziller put his big brain to the task and came up with another way to look our our NBA heroes. He measured scoring volatility to demonstrate consistency:

On Volatility Among The NBA's Top Scorers: How Valuable Is LeBron James' Consistency? -
I borrowed a trick from finance: I took the standard deviations of the players' game-by-game scoring totals and divided by their scoring average. This gives us a volatility rating

Ziller used his newest number trick to compare the NBA's top ten scorers and come up with a chart (of course) that has Carmelo Anthony on one end with a 44% volatility rating and LeBron James on the other end with a 20.8%.

In this case, the lower number is better because that means a player is giving a more consistent and predictable scoring result.

Would you rather have Melo, who has big games some nights and games with just one point? Or LeBron, who's going to give you a steady number each night?

Or, would you rather have Josh Childress, who will sit on the bench and not play at all for eight games and then come in and give you four points? Obviously, you would rather have Josh since that's the most consistent result with the least amount of volatility.

So how do the Suns scoring stars compare to the league's best?

Read on and your question that I just inserted into your mind using mind tricks and dream manipulation will be answered...

Marcin Gorat 2012: 38.2%

Marcin Gorat 2011 (w/ the Suns): 43.2%

Steve Nash 2012: 48.7%

Steve Nash 2011: 42.2%

And now some homework for you...Answer these questions in essay form in the comments below.

  • How do you think Gortat and Nash compare with their peers?
  • Why do you think Nash's volatility this year is so much higher than last year?
  • What did you think of the ending of the movie Inception?

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