Welcome to the first installment of what will be a new weekly top 10 ranking of the Phoenix Suns' individual players here at Bright Side of the Sun!
We'll be taking a look at how well or poorly each player performed over the past week and ranking their importance to the team accordingly. A significant portion of the weekly rankings will of course be based on stats. However, because most of us realize there are some aspects of the game that simply do not show up on the box score...no matter how many advanced stats and logarithms are used, there will be some weight placed on the eye-test as well.
This should give each week's piece just the right amount of subjectivity to hopefully create a nice discussion, so feel free to disagree and share your opinions as well in the comment section below!
Without further adieu...Here's a look at how the players did, and where I believe they rank based on this week's performance alone.:
1. Markieff Morris
Weekly Average: 21 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists in 30 minutes of play; +8
Morris had an excellent week on both ends of the court for the Suns. Gentry's plan to inject youth, athleticism, and defense into the line-up is paying off in spades thus far. Keef had by far his most impressive week of his short NBA career. The offensive numbers only tell part of the story...his defense has also been very good and his tendency to foul has been greatly reduced. The only question is will he continue his impressive play?
2. P.J. Tucker
Weekly Average: 13 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 30.5 minutes of play; +24
Who would have guessed that a relatively unknown free-agent who had previously been playing overseas would have such a huge impact on the Suns thus far this season? This was a tough call...PJ Tucker easily could have been ranked #1 overall for his defense, energy, and hustle if not for Keef's breakout week on both ends of the floor. His offensive game also took a huge leap forward, but it's his suffocating defense and inspired play that has really been the difference for the Suns.
3. Goran Dragic
Weekly Average: 17.5 points, 8 assists, and 3 steals in 32 minutes of play; +/- 0
Dragic had a very good week statistically. However, Goran did struggle somewhat defensively against Greivis Vasquez last night as he went 10-13 from the field for 25 points and also tallied 14 assists. Damian Lillard also scored 24 points on 7-13 shooting against Dragic in the Portland game, and again, a great deal of that is just really impressive play from the leading candidate for rookie of the year. But still, Dragic gave up more points than he scored this week...that can't be overlooked.
4. Jermaine O'Neal
Weekly Average: 15 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 Blocks in 24 minutes of play; +21.5
O'Neal is the latest player that seems to be benefiting from the Suns' training staff and their secret fountain of youth and wellness. Jermaine actually considered retiring at one point this off-season before eventually signing with Phoenix. And if this week is any indication, the rejuvenated former six-time all-star still has plenty of gas left in the tank.
5. Marcin Gortat
Weekly Average: 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 0 Blocks in 27 minutes of play; -13
Gorat had two very different games this week. His first against Portland and Myers Leonard was fantastic. He scored 22 points to go with 7 rebounds and played very good defense against the impressive but inexperienced Leoonard, taking him to school on both ends of the floor. Last night against Robin Lopez and the Hornets was a different situation entirely. Gortat couldn't find his rhythm and struggled from the floor going 2-7 offensively for only 6 points while failing to win the battle against his former backup.
6. Sebastian Telfair
Weekly Average: 4 points, 4.5 assists, and 1 steal in 17 minutes of play; +14
Looking at those offensive numbers one may question why Bassy is ranked ahead of some of the other players on the team. Well, it's his defense and energy that have made all the difference. Telfair was everything the Suns could hope for out of a back-up PG this week. He played within himself and helped force bad shots and turnovers by the opposition while setting up his teammates.
7. Shannon Brown
Weekly Average: 10 points, 1.5 assists, and 1 steal in 26.5 minutes of play; -8
Brown has definitely given the Suns an offensive spark in the starting unit. However, while his defense hasn't been too bad, he still definitely has room for improvement. And while his shot selection is getting better, he still has a tendency to over-dribble at times rather than moving the ball. Overall a solid week for Shannon though.
8. Luis Scola
Weekly Average: 7 points, 2.5 rebounds in 18.5 minutes of play; +10.5
Scola took his demotion to the second unit like the professional that he is and continued to play hard this week. Although he is certainly limited defensively, Scola is still one of the craftiest players in the league offensively, and has a nice mid-range game that helps open up the defense. He appeared to have a rough time adjusting to coming off the bench against the Blazers, but played well overall in his reduced minutes against the Hornets last night.
9. Jared Dudley
Weekly Average: 6.5 points, 2.5 assists, and 2.5 rebounds in 24.5 minutes of play; +16
Going back to the bench could have been just what the doctor ordered to break Dudley out of his funk. He's been playing more like the Dudley of old these past two games and has helped give our second unit the three point shooting threat they so desperately need.
10. Michael Beasley
Weekly Average: 3.5 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, in 18 minutes of play; -14
There's just no excuse for the way Beasley has been playing. The guy who was brought in to possibly the go-to guy on offense has failed to produce whatsoever, and has been a defensive sieve to boot. Despite his potential, Gentry will have no choice but to sit him on the bench very soon if he continues to perform like this.
So there you have it. Feel free to voice your opinion in the comments below!