Well, it is once again time for the Phoenix Suns Player Thermometer, and this time things are less bleak for the fans. They have rattled off four wins in a row and have the prospect of a 5-0 road trip if they can take care of business against the Washington Wizards, Detroit Pistons and Philadelphia 76ers.
They already took care of the New York Knicks, thus avenging their embarrassing loss in Phoenix, but they allowed Amare Stoudemire to go off for 41 points. Thankfully, the Cleveland Cavaliers still are terrible, so even when the Suns tried to pull off the come from ahead loss, they were unsuccessful.
As for who is hot(ter) and who is cold(er) on the Suns, continue on after the jump and see where Justin Burning, Scott Howard and I have ranked the players this week. Their previous week's rank is in parentheses.
1. Grant Hill (5). Grant has definitely been the team's steady hand through all of their recent turmoil and really recent success. Over Phoenix's last three games, Over-The-Hill is averaging a ridiculous 24.3 points a game and shooting 54% from the field. Oh yeah, let us not forget the 8.3 rebounds per contest. Dude's still playing out of his mind, even though his mind may be knocking at Alzheimer's door. (Justin Burning)
2. Steve Nash (1). Nash continues to amaze. He is playing at as high a level as ever and he is putting up great numbers. His last week was a simple 17.6 points and 13 assists. He also pulled down eight boards against the Knicks on Monday. If you have been watching the TV broadcasts, then you also know that he has passed Mark Price in career free throw percentage (two or three times). We will likely hear of it every single time he dips below and surpasses the mark this year. But seriously, he is a sight to see. (Jess Root)
3. Channing Frye (2). After a somewhat spotty start to the season, Frye has now strung together two consecutive weeks as one of the Suns' most consistent contributors. In the last week, Frye has put in 16 points a contest and 4.7 rebounds while continuing to play big minutes as the starting power forward. He also hit 8 of his 19 3-point attempts. Sure he's not going to be confused with an elite-level power forward but if he can produce like that while providing that long armed solid defense he's become known for - then the Suns won't have any complaints. (Scott Howard)
4. Vince Carter (11). VC's been pretty good lately. He's getting better about not slowing down the team's offense in pursuit of his own shot. His scoring has been somewhat up and down this week, but he's been solid on the boards, averaging 7.3 this week. His double-double against the Knicks was a key in the revenge victory. If Carter continues to play within the Suns' system, maybe he won't be my least favorite Sun to watch for much longer. (JB)
5. Marcin Gortat (6). Gortat started slowly in the week. but contributed a huge 16 points and 12 rebounds against the Cavs. The rest of the week was ho-hum, scoring six points in each of the previous two games. He still is working on getting the pick and roll down, but he has shown some nice touch around the basket. (JR)
6. Robin Lopez (7). From a points standpoint, the Suns' starting center delivered a solid 10.3 per game over the previous three. It's also good that we're finally starting to see signs of Suns Bear's (it's his fun new nickname) old athleticism as he begins to get a little more comfortable in his body. What's become a killer about Lopez is his continued inability to rebound the basketball. In the last three games Lopez has pulled down a pathetic five total rebounds - including zero in the Suns' win over Cleveland last night. Steve Nash had more rebounds in two separate games last week than Lopez did in the entire week. Lame. (SH)
7. Hakim Warrick (8). Hakim's contributions lately have been underwhelming, but he's kept himself in the rotation and given the team a handful of points in only a handful of minutes. In limited time, he's also been a boon when it comes to rebounding -- he's got 5.3 per in only 15.3 minutes a game. His improved overall effort has been part of the team's recent win streak. (JB)
8. Jared Dudley (3). Dudley's numbers look disappointing, but he is now in the role that we all expected from him -- that of a role player. His scoring went from 13 points, to eight and finally to only five. But don't worry, Alvin Gentry gushes over Dudley whenever he can, saying that there really isn't another player in the league like him. Don't tell him that it is normally because 6-7 nonathletic guys usually don't play professional basketball. (JR)
9. Goran Dragic (4). Pretty bleh-tastic week for the Dragon. Averages of 6.6 points and 1.3 assists aren't exactly the numbers the Suns expect from Dragic and while it's a bit promising that he had just one turnover in the last three games the team just needs, well more from the third year guard. Last night's game against Cleveland was an example of how up and down Dragic has been. In the second quarter he came in and delivered eight points and an assist in leading the Suns to a 13-point lead. However, when he entered the game in the late third quarter he led the offense to such stagnation that a 15-point lead was quickly reduced to seven. More Goran. More. (SH)
10. Mickael Pietrus (10). Pietrus is on the outside of the rotation now, but he seems pretty chill about it, particularly with the team-winning games. You'd like to see someone with his effectiveness get some minutes, but what's Gentry to do at this point? Just too many players at the same positions. (JB)
11. Josh Childress (9). I'd argue that J-Chillin has the life I always wanted. He gets a courtside seat to the games, hangs out with the Suns and gets paid millions of dollars. He doesn't even have to play in the games. In fact, he didn't even sniff a single minute in the last week. Too bad he's actually an athlete and is supposed to play and contribute more to the team than just the coolest head of hair. (JR)
12. Garret Siler (13). The enormous teddy bear is back wearing a uniform which is pretty cool - but he's not played in the past week so it's hard to comment. I guess he's looked pretty solid jumping up and down off the bench during timeouts. (SH)
13. Gani Lawal (14). Gani's out for the year and injured, so sucks for him. But the team's winning, Gani, so chin up! (JB)
14. Zabian Dowdell (12). Poor Z-man. The team let his 10-day contract expire, so he technically isn't even a Phoenix Sun now. He did, though, get a minute of court time and logged an assist and a steal. That's why he's on the list still. The good news is that when the Suns are back in Phoenix and practicing, he will likely be brought back. Hooray for employment uncertainty! (JR)
Do you agree with our rankings? Let us know. (Just note that you run the risk of public humiliation if you disagree)