Welcome to the first weekly installment of the "Phoenix Suns Player of the Week" series. This new feature will replace the "Suns Weekly Player Rankings" from last season, which may have been a bit too comprehensive given the lack of quality talent on the roster at the time.

This new weekly feature will facilitate the ability to focus in on the players who really deserve the attention, while omitting those who are barely worth mentioning...At least until they earn their way into the list. This will begin with an examination of the top three candidates as determined by their play in the weekly games, and culminate with a winner based on not only stats, but also on their importance to the team...which is sometimes difficult to measure with numbers alone.

So without further ado, here is a look at the first three candidates:

The Finalists

Eric Bledsoe aka "Mr. 4th Quarter"

Weekly Stat Averages:

Points: 20.5 FG%: .572 Assists: 8.25 Steals: 2.25 Rebounds: 3.75

Eric Bledsoe has been the highest scoring player on the team thus far, and also the most clutch with his ability to seemingly take over games in the 4th quarter, and put the team on his back when it matters the most.

In addition to leading the Suns in scoring, Bledsoe is also leading the team in assists and steals. Now that may change once Dragic is healthy and back in the line up, but there's no question that Bledsoe has been everything the Suns could have hoped for and more.

Markieff Morris aka "The Philly Phoenix"

Weekly Stat Averages:

Points: 18.4 FG%: .583 Assists: 2.0 Steals: 1.5 Rebounds: 7.5

Just when Suns fans were ready to give up on Markieff Morris after starting his third season with the same inconsistent play that he exhibited in his first two seasons, Markieff suddenly rose from the ashes this week with very impressive play off the bench that included less jump-shots, more dunks, and an aggressive, physical style of play.

Markieff played the best game of his career this week in San Antonio going 11-13 from the field and tying his career high with 23 points...but he wasn't finished. In the very next game, he went 10-13 from the field and got to the line frequently where he shot 7-8 for a new career high of 28 points, to go along with his 10 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 assists. This was the best week in Markieff's young NBA career, and he made a huge difference for the Suns with his new-found style of big-man basketball.

Miles Plumlee aka "Double-Doublee"

Weekly Stat Averages:

Points: 10.75 FG%: .480 Blocks: 1.25 Rebounds: 6.75

Not only do the Suns appear to have a new fan favorite in town with Miles Plumlee, but he is proving to be one of the biggest surprises in the NBA as a whole this season. Plumlee is leading the Suns in double-doubles, and although he is only 55 minutes removed from being a rookie this season, he has become one of the most important players on the team.

The Frequent Flyer (I refuse to call him Plumdog) had one bad game offensively this week against OKC which significantly lowered his averages. However, even when he isn't scoring the ball or getting credited for rebounds and blocks, he is doing a lot of really good things on the court and making a huge difference when he's on the floor. Plumlee's numbers this week do not tell the entire story, as anyone who watched him play can attest to. He has had an outstanding week and has been one of the biggest keys to the Suns success thus far.

The Player of the Week

Markieff Morris

Keef deserves the player of the week award for stringing together the three best games of his career in a row, and improving in each of them. This is the player the Suns were hoping for when they drafted him in 2011, and if he can continue to play at this level, or even close to it, he can make a huge difference for this team. Markieff has seemingly readjusted his focus from being a stretch four to playing more in the low post. He has only taken two thee-point shots thus far in the season, and has done the majority of his scoring at the rim and at the foul line...which is exactly what the organization and fans have been waiting to see from him.

Who knows if Markieff can continue to reinvent himself into the efficient low-post scoring and rebounding machine that he has become over the past few games, but he deserves credit for his impressive turnaround after what appeared to be another lackluster start to the season. Keef gave the Suns an added dimension of toughness and efficiency in and around the post that they haven't been able to get from him before. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come for the new and improved Markieff Morris.

Who do you think deserved to be named the Phoenix Suns Player of the Week?

  593 votes | Results

The Phoenix Suns are 4-2 in the young season, with their only losses being on the road to San Antonio and Oklahoma City without their best player, Goran Dragic, in the lineup.

After the Spurs beat the Suns in the final minute in true Spursian fashion, color Tony Parker impressed. "A lot of people they really don't believe in Phoenix. I think they're pretty good," he said after the game.

The Suns have the league's 5th-ranked defense in terms of points-per-possession and 12th ranked offense. This from a team universally predicted to finish in the cellar of the West.

"Everybody's counting us out," P.J. Tucker said after Friday's win over Denver. "Everybody."

Before that game, Denver coach Brian Shaw was worried. One of his keys to the game was to take the Phoenix Suns seriously. He explained that sometimes NBA players don't get as keyed up for a team without a marquee player, but that he hoped his team wouldn't fall into that trap.

Denver came out flat, losing the first half by 17 and the fourth quarter by 14 under the snowball called the Phoenix Suns.

"We want people to keep taking us lightly," shooting guard Gerald Green said after the game when told of Shaw's comments. "Go ahead and take us lightly."

To be clear, Shaw wasn't dissing the Suns. On the contrary, he was simply stating his concern that players sometimes pick and choose the games they get most excited for. To no one's surprise, the Phoenix Suns are not yet a team that scares its opponents.

"I think that we can even click even more," Green said of the potential to get better. "It's kind of scary to think what our potential is and I don't think everybody realizes what we really can do. I think that game by game we surprise each other."

P.J. Tucker is one of only four players who went through last season's debacle, so it's instructive to get his take on all of this excitement. Kris and I asked him to compare this season's spirit or "vibe" with last season at this time.

"We had the same high hopes last year," he said with a chuckle. "We thought we were a good team last year and we were going to win. Even the first 20 games when we were losing a little bit, we were still thinking we were going to turn it on. It's still the same, I think."

The Suns started the season 7-8 before losing a ton of games by Christmas and eventually losing their coach in January. Tucker warns that the season is too early to call, but he really likes what he sees from the team.

"There's a lot of focus," he said. "Everybody's coming in, playing hard, playing like it's their last game. I love the group, how we're playing together. Everybody sharing the ball, right there together."

Last week, after the Suns opener, point guard Goran Dragic had the same warning not to get too excited this early.

Coach Hornacek, on the other hand, isn't jaded from last season. He's impressed with the team's resilience and brought up a new buzz word that must make the President of Basketball Operations smile.

"Typically, the young guys get panicked and it gets even worse," Hornacek said of their recovery from getting blitzed in the third quarter on Friday. "But our guys are not doing that and that's a great sign. They stay with it, they stay composed even though we have a young team.

"That's a great sign for the future," he continued. "To see these guys already have it. Usually, it takes a few years where they grab their composure and poise - that's one of Lon Babby's "Five Ps" is poise. If we can continue to do that it makes is easier on us coaches."

The season is still young, but this team just feels a lot more focused and together than at any time a year ago. Win or lose, they have each other's backs.

#LeaguePassAlert It’s official. The Suns are the most entertaining team in the NBA. Though the season is still young, the Suns are already old pros at keeping the drama night in and night out. Their...

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The Phoenix rode Markieff Morris and Miles Plumlee to a great win over the Nuggets that saw both teams take big leads, one after the other.

The Nuggets made a final run with a couple of threes to cut the lead to four, but Eric Bledsoe made a big layup in traffic and then a long straight-away three to seal the win.

Bledsoe finished with 15 points, 9 assists and 3 steals. Markieff Morris had a career high 28 points with 9 rebounds, and Miles Plumlee had 18 and 11. Marcus Morris had 11 points himself, only the third time the twins have both had double digit scoring games on the same team together.

The Suns started the game hot by scoring at the rim and from the three-point line with consistency, racing to a 24-13 lead before the Nuggets woke up. The players were really focused on getting their shots either going to the rim or rotating into an open three.

Nuggets briefly took the lead 36-35 early in the second quarter off 3 straight steals (turning into 7 points) by the hyper athletic Anthony Randolph. Randolph can't do much with a basketball, but he's got some serious length to disrupt passing lanes.

But then the Suns settled back down to two alley-oop dunks and a three, quickly retaking a 9-point lead and forcing a Nugget timeout. At this point, Gerald Green makes the All-Suns team. That guy is playing like a man possessed.

The Nuggets stayed in the game by shooting well - making 59% of their shots despite an 8-point deficit halfway through the second quarter.

By late in the second quarter, the Suns had forced the Nuggets to play pretty small by putting Channing Frye at the 5-spot and spreading the floor with the Morris brothers, Gerald Grean and Bledsoe out there. That's a tough team to defend with their length and shooting ability.

Still, the Nuggets kept themselves in the game with shooting and hustle, though they spent a lot more time trying and missing midrange shots once the Suns D settled down.

And then Dionte Christmas turned into "the Polar Express" on a fast break layup that signaled a second-quarter rout was on.

By halftime, the Suns lead was 17, the last two points on a "Mozgov". That poor guy. After getting nutmegged a couple years ago by Blake Griffin, Mozgov was twice crossed up by Miles Plumlee for reverse layups and then Markieff Morris rose to the "13th floor" over top of Mozgov for a putback slam on a Suns missed free throw. It was glorious.

In the first half, the Suns outscored the Nuggets 64-47, outrebounded them 27 to 18, out-assisted them 14 to 8, outblocked them 3 to 0 and outstole the ball 5-3.

Markieff Morris had 14 points and 5 rebounds by halftime, while Miles Plumlee had 9 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks. Suns leading scorer Eric Bledsoe had only 4 points as he was happy setting up for others, racking up 7 assists in the first half alone.

This was a clear and present pasting through halftime.

Next question: can the Suns handle success?

Well, the Suns came out flat to start the second half while the Nuggets started on a 12-5 run before Hornacek called a timeout to focus the guys. Curious to see if they can "turn it back on".

Denver tried to come back with Darrell Arthur and Anthony Randolph on their front line. And it worked. Denver went on a 27-3 run at one point, and took a whopping 10-point lead before the Suns could take a breath. Ty Lawson had 21 points in that run alone. Crazy stuff. The Suns just couldn't stop the bleeding.

Luckily, the Suns started with a 17-point lead and woke up a bit at the end to cut the Denver lead to 3.

At the end of the quarter, Ish Smith made a 3-point play the old fashioned way, and then made a steal for a fastbreak layup by Markieff Morris. Morris was so excited, he drew the crowd to its feet by waving his arms in a real, live "Make Some Noise" moment.

Still, Ty Lawson outscored the entire Suns team 21-20 in the third.

The Suns quickly tied the game on a Marcus Morris 3 and three stops (sandwiching two other Morris jumper misses). The Suns were fortunate that Denver couldn't keep their momentum.

The scoring bounced back and forth for much of the 4th quarter. Markieff Morris had a career high 25 points with eight minutes to go. He was hot. And then he showed how focused he was by dumping off a pass to Miles Plumlee for an easy layup rather than driving into a charge call.

The Suns finally grabbed a 5-point lead at 100-95 on a 3 by the other Morris. Really, these last three games are what the prior regime thought they might be getting when they acquired the Morrii. These guys are such a mismatch because they can move, dribble, shoot and make shots while rebounding and defending on the other end. When they are engaged. Somehow, Hornacek has them engaged more than any prior NBA coach could do. Maybe it's the Kendall Marshall trade/release. Maybe it's just them growing up. Or maybe it's the right coaching. Whatever it is, I like these Morrii.

In the end, the Suns regrouped and finished the game on a high after dropping to a 10-point deficit. The crowd was quite excited, spurred on by inspired Suns basketball.

As the Phoenix Suns (3-2) got up shots and ran through the gameplan for tonight's game against the Denver Nuggets (1-3), two special guests decided to fly by. Literally. Two birds broke into the arena and were flying around.

One time they even got bold enough to fly low near the court and by the watching media contingent.

That was the highlight of practice today, but for more on the Suns and what happened today in practice here is the full Practice Report:

Goran Dragic Injury Update (...and more)

Both Goran Dragic and Coach Hornacek seemed positive about the injury recovery. It has only been four days, but after getting some shots up and running a lot (with varied speeds, stops, and motions) he is getting back to being Goran.

"It is probably not 100%, but he is a tough kid," Coach Hornacek said after practice. "Most likely if he is going I will probably start him."

This injury happened once before in pre-season as well, with an ironic return against the Denver Nuggets, the same team that is in town tonight. This injury is unrelated and Goran does not feel he came back too soon, "I was feeling fine, no pain."

What caused the injury? "New shoes. I did it twice (injured his ankle) in black shoes. I don't know if I don't know how to walk, but it didn't happen in the past so that is why I changed my shoes." New, white shoes in toe hopefully this is the last of ankle injuries. Come on Adidas, time for the Crazy Dragons!

Without Goran the Suns went 1-1 averaging 100 points per game and giving up 98.5 on the defensive end. In replacing Goran over the past two games Gerald Green has stepped up with 16.5 points per game making NINE total three-point shots.

...and more. Goran Dragic is expecting his first child in eight days, in that span the Suns play four games and he would be home for the birth in a perfect world before heading on the road to face the Sacramento Kings.

How is the Rookie Doing? Archie Goodwin

The last one off the court at today's shoot-a-round... Archie Goodwin. These are generally lite walkthroughs with points of emphasis on the game. No matter the context it was nice to see the rookie remain on the court as the coaching staff, players, and media all left, with a shooting coach or two hanging around to catch rebounds of course.

His shot is still a work in progress, but with the assistance of shooting coaches and assistants he is beginning to remove the hitch from his jumper.

It is also getting clearer and clearer when he is going to make a shot and when he reverts back to the inconsistent release with an aggressive hitch. The staff is getting the ball back over his head and not off to the side which is a positive as well.

For those that that Archie GODwin was going to come out this season and make an immediate impact as a Rookie of the Year candidate, that was a little premature, but he has progressed since Training Camp.

Strength and physicality is still a major concern for him as he transitions to the NBA. It is easy to describe Archie, he is an 18 year old. Physically, mentally, and all around, he is an 18 year old. That is not a bad thing, in fact it is a positive, and because that means all of his best moments are still to come.

Coach Hornacek's Corner Three's

The teams' performance without one of their captain's, Goran Dragic:

"When Goran went down I thought we were in big trouble, but I have always told our guys to be ready. You never know what is going to happen and guys stepped up. We feel we have guys across the board that if somebody does go down we can pick it up for them."

More Coach Hornacek on the team running enough:

"For me, unless we are scoring 140 we are not pushing it. I think sometimes we are settling. Some groups are running groups and with Channing (Frye), we still should be a running group, with him trailing the play. When Goran went out that seemed to slow it at least for the starting group."

On Markieff Morris playing more like a power forward lately:

"We always want our opposite big to roll to the basket. If you are setting a screen, roll to the basket, if you are the other guy work yourself down there so you can get offensive rebounds, put-backs, and that is when you get fouled. We need to get more free-throws. It is good to get three-pointers, but when we don't get those threes we have to get to the basket"

The 2014 NBA Draft Update

There is nothing locked in right now, but after each team has played ten or more games you can take this more seriously. The Suns own four potential first round picks through various sources and they are being looked after by three other teams at the moment. How are the surrogates doing?

Washington Wizards (1-3): T-No. 3 Overall With that the pick would remain in the Nation's Capital.

Minnesota Timberwolves (3-2): T-No. 19 Overall

Phoenix Suns (3-2): T-No. 19 Overall

Indiana Pacers (5-0): No. 30th Overall

This scenario gives the team three first round picks, none in the lottery, and most important -- none in the Top 2 of the 2014 NBA Draft. Check out NBA Draft Insider for more on the upcoming draft, profiles, rankings, and notes as the season progresses. Once the NBA has hit the collective 10 game mark then look for more individual prospect info on this section.

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