Welcome to the Phoenix Suns Player Thermometer for Week 13 of the NBA. After a week or so of actually feeling kind of good about this team, they've gone right back to losing in bad ways to bad teams. They're current riding a three-game losing streak to the likes of the Detroit Pistons, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Charlotte Bobcats. There's no break, either: the Boston Celtics and New Orleans Hornets are next in line.
When the team loses, it's generally because of their always-porous defense and because Steve Nash's offensive help disappears, as was the case for most of the last week. As a result, not a lot of the Suns players are what one would consider "hot." So again, this week's thermometer is more a scale of least bad to most bad.
On to the thermometer. Last week's ranking is in parentheses. This week, Seth Pollack guest-comments.
1. Steve Nash (2). He's averaging 19 points, 12 assist over the past week. What more can this guy do to lead his team to victory? You seriously have to question the heart of players that won't match the effort and desire that Nash and Hill give on a nightly basis. It's really a shame and has led to those outside Phoenix to start a "Free Nash" campaign. Not so fast, though -- Nash is going nowhere without a fight. (Seth Pollack)
2. Marcin Gortat (5). Gortat, now known by Suns TV viewers as "My favorite Marcin" (you really said that, Tom Leander?), had a great week if you exclude the Philly game. He put up two double-doubles and matched his career high of 16 points (with seven boards) against Charlotte. Alvin Gentry has not said anything about it, but you have to wonder how much longer it will be before he takes the starting job away from Robin Lopez. (Jess Root)
3. Jared Dudley (8). With Dudley being ranked this high, you know the team's in trouble. It's been said before, and I'll go ahead and say it again: Dudley's a fantastic role player, but he should not be leading your team in anything in any particular game. When he is, that means other, more productive guys aren't doing their jobs. In this case, those guys are Vince Carter, Robin Lopez, Channing Frye, and kind of Grant Hill. (Justin Burning)
4. Channing Frye (3). Channing hasn't had his best week, but he wasn't horrible, either. Seven threes and 25 points in Washington. Eight total threes in the next three games -- all losses. As Channing goes, so goes the Suns. Still. Unfortunately. (SP)
5. Grant Hill (1). Hill's shooting disappeared this last week. He shot just under 35 percent and has looked a little more his age. He is still moving very well and defending, but the long road trip seems to have taken a toll on him. Now his knee is in question after DJ Augustin fell on him. (JR)
6. Goran Dragic (9). Goran continues to be quietly productive. The only problem is, the team desperately needs him to be loudly productive. The bench has been a huge disappointment this season and Dragic's step backwards hasn't helped anything. He's a rotation player, but he hasn't been looking like the future of the franchise all season long. (JB)
7. Robin Lopez (6). Robin has had some decent starts, but hasn't played over 15 minutes once in the past five games. His lack of rebounding numbers in contrast to Gortat has him back to his role as cheerleader for the majority of his time at work. Shame, that. At some point, the Suns are going to have to suck it up and committ to Robin so he can develop his game ... or fail. (SP)
8. Vince Carter (4). Carter passed Tom Chambers in the all-time scoring list Wednesday night and suddenly started hitting shots again. His 22 points and five threes kept Phoenix in the game, at least against the Bobcats. But he scored a total of 23 points in the other three games. Maybe the pressure of passing a guy who still works for the Suns was getting to him. Or, it could be his lack of aggresive play. In four games, he shot only six free throws. He attempted 21 threes. He also has looked the part of his alter ego "Wince" Carter. (JR)
9. Hakim Warrick (7). Hakim continues to be a fringe rotation guy, getting spot minutes here and there, with Alvin Gentry seemingly unwilling to trust him in a significant role. This is likely due to his lackadaisical defense, but that's a problem the entire team is suffering from these days, so it's hardly an isolated incident. (JB)
10. Josh Childress (11). Josh still has the best collection of shoes on the team. Unfortunately, he's not getting the chance to use them on the dance floor. (SP)
11. Mikael Pietrus (10). Poor Pietrus. In Orlando, he wasn't getting playing time and was on a good team. Now, he can't get minutes on a team that is looking more and more like a team headed to the lottery. His week was a little better than the previous one. He managed to log 20 minutes of playing time in the two road losses the Suns had. In those minutes? He hit a three, pulled down four boards and had two assists. (JR)
12. Garret Siler (12). Running out of things to say about Mr. Siler. He did get one minute of garbage playing time against the Wizards and scored four quick points. Other than that ... yes, he still exists. (JB)
13. Zabian Dowdell (14). It's unlikely he'll ever see court time, but Zabian was indeed re-signed by the Suns to a second 10-day contract. So, since he's on the roster and not injured, he makes it ahead of Gani. (JB)
14. Gani Lawal (13). Gani had his knee cut open and is hopeful he will play again and be 100%. But that's many, many months away. (SP)