It was not the greatest week in the world for the Phoenix Suns: they lost two of three games during a crucial playoff push, Grant Hill underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus that may end his season, and rookie Markieff Morris sat out most of the week thanks to the flu. But, the team remains at .500 and, with some helpful losses by Western Conference foes, they're only 1.5 games out of a playoff position. The Suns will need all of their core players to continue their strong contributions in order to make the postseason.
Anyway, as usual, here is the Phoenix Suns Player Thermometer, ranking the roster from hottest to nottest. Last week's rankings are in parentheses.
1. Steve Nash (1): His scoring is down, but his playmaking is as always. He averaged 12 assists for the week, but after scoring 16 against the San Antonio Spurs, he combined for five points in the next two games while taking only eight shots. Still, even when he isn't taking shots, he is making his team better. (Jess Root)
2. Marcin Gortat (4): The Polish Hammer continues to provide steady production on the offensive end and on the boards. Gortat averaged 19 points and 8.33 rebounds per game last week in match-ups against the Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers, and New Orleans Hornets. He'll need to step up and increase his rebounding average over the next few weeks for the Suns to remain competitive without Hill in the lineup. (Nikil Selvam)
3. Shannon Brown (8): With Grant Hill out, potentially for the season, Shannon stepped into the starting lineup and so far, it's a move that's paid off for the Suns. He scored 32 points against the Spurs and logged the most minutes of any Sun. He averaged 13 points in the next two games, and shot 53% from the field this week. (Justin Burning)
4. Channing Frye (5): Frye posted double figures in two games this week and averaged 12.3 points in three games this week. Frye struggled from beyond the arc, though, shooting 3-17 from three. Frye posted a double-double against the Hornets on Sunday, posting 14 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Frye averaged 35 minutes per game this week, nine over his season average. (Ryan Bafaloukos)
5. Jared Dudley (3): Dudley rebounded from a bad pair of games against the Hornets. Before leading his team in scoring in that game with 21, his previous two games combined to net him 12 points on 6-12 shooting. No made free throws, no made threes. He even airballed a free throw against the Clippers. (JR)
6. Robin Lopez (7): Lopez scored 10 points off the bench in each of Phoenix's last two games, and he seems comfortable around the basket. Like Gortat, he'll need to crash the boards hard in the coming weeks to give the Suns second-chance opportunities without Hill. (NS)
7. Hakim Warrick (11): As has been the case all season, Warrick's usage this week was spotty, getting only eight minutes of play against San Antonio, but averaging 12 minutes in the other two games. Hakim hasn't been particularly potent offensively, but he's been productive on the boards, averaging 4.5 a game in his last two limited outings. (JB)
8. Michael Redd (9): Redd had a relatively quiet week. Redd did not score in 13 minutes against the Spurs, and posted seven points in each of the other two games this week. Redd only grabbed one rebound total this week and shot 3-11 from the field. (RB)
9. Sebastian Telfair (10): After scoring 11 against the Spurs, he shot 1-10 in the next two games. The more troubling stat? He did not log a single assist in three games. (JR)
10. Josh Childress (13): Childress returned to to the rotation on Sunday and played for the first time in 10 games. He didn't do anything spectacular, but his six rebounds and one steal helped Phoenix lock up a home win that they desparately needed against the Hornets. (NS)
11. Ronnie Price (12): Ronnie got the old "NDP-CD" in the win against the Hornets, and in the other two games, he was a non-factor, despite playing 11 minutes a game. (JB)
12. Markieff Morris (6): Morris missed two games this week due to illness and did not score in the one game he did play in against the Spurs. Morris played only seven minutes total this week and only took one shot. Coach Gentry expects Morris to play this week. (RB)
13. Grant Hill (2): HIll did not play this past week and had knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus, which may finish his season. (JR)