Here's this week's episode of the Sunscast podcast in which we talk about WINNING. More specifically, we discuss the changes to the rotations and the awesome that is Steve Nash.

Frankly, there's not all that much new for readers of this site as the topics have been well covered but you do get to hear us talk about it again and if you are so inclined, you can plug in your ear buds and let my sultry voice lull you to sleep.

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

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We're going to see a lot of this in 2012, and it's badly needed. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Michael Redd is on a roll, and just maybe a Phoenix Suns team with very few reliable scorers has found themselves a reliable scorer. Whoda thunk it would be Michael Redd after all those injuries?

Redd said he knows people in Milwaukee and elsewhere felt his career was over after two surgeries for anterior-cruciate ligament tears in the same knee, per Paul Coro, beat writer for and the Arizona Republic. But he said he never questioned his ability to return, working individually since a brief 10-game return at the end of last season with the Bucks. "Not even in a bad way," Redd said of the doubting fans. "Like, 'He should go ahead and retire. He's had a great career.' I knew I had something left in the tank. A lot, actually. I thought I got robbed of a couple years with the ACL injuries.

"That's been the story of my career, kind of overachieving and climbing over mountains. When people say I couldn't do something, that motivated me to do it."

If he continues on his current pace (averaging 14 points in 21 minutes over last 3 games), or even improves as his rusty game returns to him, the Suns may have had a gift drop right into their laps. A gift that was desperately needed.

For scoring on this team, you can only count on Steve Nash and Marcin Gortat on a night-in night-out basis. Both will get you at least 10 point a night. Occasionally 20. All while producing 10+ a night in their secondary category (rebounds/assists) as well.

Everyone else on the team? Scoring is a total crapshoot.

Not good. Only one guy (Jared Dudley) outside Nash and Gortat scores 10+ points at least half the time, and that was just barely.

Guess how many TOTAL 20-point games these 10 players have produced? One. That's it. Once out of 120 total chances (10 players * 12 games each)

Hence the need for a professional shooter like Michael Redd.

Redd, sporting a lifetime 19.7 point/game average, has scored more than 10 points in each of his last 3 games for the Suns. The first of those three was his first and only start this season, and the first in 2 long years of injury and rehab.

After his most recent game in Milwaukee, Redd had this to say:
"From where I came from the last couple years to get to that point to play at this level again is a miracle," Redd said, according to Paul Coro, beat writer for "The NBA is tough so to come back into form, all the hard work and tears paid off."

The Suns need reliable scoring from someone other than Steve Nash and Marcin Gortat.

It makes a whole team feel better when they KNOW who is going to score the ball when given the chance. Players like to know their role, to know where everyone fits around them. They have to know who that scorer is.

When Gortat and Nash rest, it's a total crapshoot. When they are not on the floor, you can't look at any one guy and say "he's got this. We're getting some points right now."

Now maybe they can feel good about Redd. And then everyone else can just play their part.


There's a lot of ways you can look at numbers and sports. Most of them are bogus and misleading. Why change what works?

Here's some numbers about your Phoenix Suns, their rebounding ups and downs, the wins and losses that happen when the rebounding is better or worse. And to make things even more useless, a look at three bench guys and how they fit into the rebounding picture.

Let's begin with this futile act of senseless analysis.

1. How much does rebounding matter?

The answer is, some. Does it matter more than three-point shooting? Does it matter less than turnovers? Does it matter as much as orange vs. purple unis? Who knows.

But it does seem to matter...some.

Here's what we know. Of the 11 Suns wins, 7 game in games with a positive rebounding differential. 2 more came in games when the Suns were only -2 on the glass (or better). Only one win came in a game where the Suns got crushed on the boards -- the Knicks game where the Suns shot over 54% from three and the Knicks couldn't hit the ocean with the broad side of a barn.

Look, a chart!


I'm no math genius (or any kind of genius) but that seems kind of important to me. Rebounding.

2. Who rebounds well on the Suns?

This one is easy to answer, just fire up the old and check this out:


In case you can't read that, the order of rebounding rate is Gortat, Lopez, Frye, Morris, Childress, Warrick and then the rest.

Steve Nash, btw, has the worst rebounding rate on the team proving how worthless he is. Clearly, because I just told you how important rebounding is. Duh.

3. What happens when Lopez, Warrick or Childress play more or less minutes?

And now things get really interesting. Let's put aside a lot of garbage about this season like "roster talent" and "#FreeNash" and "energy" and just look at the pieces Gentry has to work with.

It's like a puzzle, right? Each guy does some things better than other things and Alvin's job is to fit them together.

Gentry isn't going to turn Robin Lopez into a three-point scoring machine. He's not going to be able to make Hakim Warrick defend the pick and roll (or anything) better. These guys pretty much are who they are.

What the coach can do it put the right combinations of dudes on the floor at the same time and try and get the fellers to play to their potential.

So...let's help him out w/ a little number crunching. Here's a little chart showing the differences between Lopez, Chill and Warrick.


As you can see, the more Warrick plays, the worse the Suns rebound. When Lopez and Chill play the Suns rebound better. And we've already established that rebounding is the most important factor in Suns wins something that happens.

Clearly, Gentry should play Warrick less and play Chill and Lopez more...kind of like he did in the last three games which, in case your not paying attention, were wins (and the Suns were +15 on the glass).

Happy now?

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It's never a bad thing when you are just 25 games into your NBA career and you get tabbed to spend the All-Star break at the NBA All-Star game. Phoenix Suns rookie Markieff Morris, the 13th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, was selected as one of nine first-year players to participate in the newfangled Rising Stars game in Orlando at the end of February.

The Rising Stars game replaces the old Rookie-Sophomore game and adopts are more fan-friendly approach by having celebrity stars pick their teams from a pool of players. Morris will join these NBA Rookies and Sophomores in the game:

MarShon Brooks New Jersey G-F 6-5 200 Providence/USA R

DeMarcus Cousins Sacramento C 6-11 270 Kentucky/USA 1

Landry Fields New York G 6-7 210 Stanford/USA 1

Paul George Indiana G-F 6-8 215 Fresno State/USA 1

Blake Griffin L.A. Clippers F 6-10 251 Oklahoma/USA 1

Gordon Hayward Utah F 6-8 210 Butler/USA 1

Kyrie Irving Cleveland G 6-3 191 Duke/USA R

Brandon Knight Detroit G 6-3 189 Kentucky/USA R

Kawhi Leonard San Antonio G-F 6-7 225 San Diego State/USA R

Greg Monroe Detroit C 6-11 250 Georgetown/USA 1

Markieff Morris Phoenix F 6-10 245 Kansas/USA R

Ricky Rubio Minnesota G 6-4 180 FC Barcelona/Spain R

Tiago Splitter San Antonio F-C 6-11 240 Saski Baskonia/Brazil 1

Tristan Thompson Cleveland F 6-9 227 Texas/USA R

Evan Turner Philadelphia G-F 6-7 205 Ohio State/USA 1

John Wall Washington G 6-4 195 Kentucky/USA 1

Kemba Walker Charlotte G 6-1 172 Connecticut/USA R

Derrick Williams Minnesota F 6-8 241 Arizona /USA R

Here's what the Suns press release has to say about Keif:

Morris earns the honor after averaging 7.2 points, and an NBA rookie-best 5.0 rebounds in 20.6 minutes while appearing in all 25 of the Suns' games this season. In addition to rebounding, the versatile power forward also leads all rookies in three-point percentage (.460), seventh-best in the NBA overall, and ranks eighth among first-year players in scoring. Morris is one of seven rookies who have recorded a double-double this season.

It is fitting that Morris is the first Sun since Stoudemire to earn a Rising Stars selection because the former University of Kansas standout is having the best statistical season by a Phoenix rookie since Stoudemire. Morris is averaging the most points and the most rebounds by a Suns rookie since Stoudemire in 2002-03, and is nearly one of only nine first-year players in franchise history to average at least eight points and five rebounds.

TNT's Kenny Smith will serve as the honorary Commissioner and Ernie Johnson will host the live BBVA Rising Stars Challenge Draft on Thursday, Feb. 16, on NBA TV at 7 p.m. ET.

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A Nice Way to Celebrate Your Birthday

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