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Minutes not guaranteed under Triano

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Not even for the #8 overall pick a year ago.

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Phoenix Suns head coach Jay Triano doesn’t give a rip where you were drafted. If you’re not bringing energy, the minutes aren’t going to be there.

That was the message he shared with Scott Bordow of azcentral sports before the Suns’ 97-95 home win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday night.

“It makes it easy for me. It really does,” Triano said. “Somebody asked me about the point-guard position, ‘Who’s going to play?’ Who plays best. I think we’ve proved that in the games we play. Whoever is playing best is going to play. So if you want to stay on the floor and you’re worried about minutes, then play well.

“For a coach, that’s an easy thing. I can judge energy real quick. And if you’re not giving it to me, I’m not going to play you.”

That philosophy is especially applicable to the sophomore season we’ve seen from Suns forward Marquese Chriss. Inconsistent play has led to inconsistent time on the court. Against the Clippers on Wednesday, Chriss was on the floor 26 minutes finishing with 13 points on 5 of 8 shooting and eight rebounds. Thursday night was a different story. Chriss played 16 minutes and scored a season low two points.

“Maybe last year his numbers might have been better,” Triano said. “This is a growing process for him. A natural feel for the game is tough after only playing the game for five years. He hasn’t played a lot of basketball. Learning on the fly with the speed and the strength of the players he’s playing against is the challenge. I can’t say I’m disappointed where he is right now.”

Could Chriss be headed to Northern Arizona? Some think he would be better served with a G-League experience for the time being.

“Not yet, and I don’t think we will,” Triano said. “He’s in the rotation now. He’s starting for us. I think we’ve tried to manage his minutes a little. We’ve focused on him concentrating on a smaller amount of minutes and doing the right thing (in those minutes). … We believe in Marquese. We just have to stay with him. He just has to keep learning. Minutes are starting to dwindle and that’s time for him to step up a little bit.”

Bordow asked Triano about the Suns front court situation and the firing of David Fizdale as well. Give it a read.