Welcome to the Phoenix Suns Player Thermometer for Week 10. Man, it's getting awfully tough to find good things to say about the majority of this roster. Steve Nash and the Suns are in major turmoil. They're 14-19, five games under .500 for the first time this season and struggling to find anything positive to latch onto in terms of progress.
So far, there hasn't been much to suggest this team will put together a run for the playoffs. Instead of focusing on a win streak, most fans are focusing on whether Steve Nash will be a Sun past the February trade deadline. We won't get into that debate here, but Nash is really the only player that's been consistently efficient this season. All of the team's offseason acquisitions are traded, severely underperforming, or out of the rotation completely. It's fantastic!
Anyway, on to the player thermometer, in order of hot to not. Last week's rankings are in parentheses.
1. Marcin Gortat (7). Gortat makes number one on the list not because of his play, which has been solid, but for being the one to speak up about playing better defense. His comments led to change. On the court in three games, he averaged 10 points and eight boards and is quickly taking playing time from Robin Lopez. (Jess Root)
2. Steve Nash (2). Decent week for Nash. Against the Pistons, he was afforded the ability to take a rare rest with the Suns lead comfortably in hand. In Sunday night's debacle against the Kings, Nash was actually perfect from the field (8/8) and posted a 20/12. Last night, he posted a quiet 11/10 in the Suns loss to the Lakers. His lofty position on this list is basically because nobody else is that good, either. (Scott Howard)
3. Vince Carter (11). On the positive side, Vince has averaged 16.3 points a game over the three games he played in this week -- on the surface, a boon considering the team never broke the coveted 100-point mark. The bad thing: he's shooting 45% to get those points. VC's provided a boost, but it's come at a cost. And that cost is having a volume shooter that's not efficient and likes to over-dribble himself into low-percentage shot situations. His biggest boost has been the increased defense -- the Suns have held all three of their opponents this week to fewer than 100 points (but two of three games were losses). (Justin Burning)
4. Jared Dudley (1). Dudley has slowed down since VC's installation as the starting shooting guard, but he's continued to contribute more than earlier in the season. Over the past week, he's shot 46% from three (hitting 6 of 13) and led the team in scoring twice. Jared's contributing about what the team anticipated he would contribute; unfortunately, there are a lot of other under-performing people that don't have the "I'm just a bench utility player in a 10-man rotation" excuse. (JB)
5. Grant Hill (3). Hill's play continues to be steady, as he scores in double digits more or less every game. His shooting dipped against the Lakers (he shot 4-12), but that is always a byproduct of having to guard Kobe Bryant, whom he makes work very hard to score. (JR)
6. Mickael Pietrus (4). Nobody can accuse Pietrus of being timid when it comes to firing shots. In games where he started -- against Detroit and Sacramento -- he attempted 24 total shots (hitting seven), including a putrid 1/9 performance from three against the Kings. Though he shot just six times against the Lakers, it was probably because he played only 15 minutes due to his removal from the starting lineup. (SH)
7. Channing Frye (5). Frye's shot continues to elude him, shooting 7-22 in the last week. He has been less help on the boards as well, only pulling down 11 in three games. (JR)
8. Goran Dragic (8). Oh, Dragon. Wherefore art thou confidence and aggressiveness? Since starting the year rather impressively, Goran has steadily declined. Two of Dragic's recent games were sub-17-minute non-appearances with a lot of meager stats. He seems tentative running the offense and has forgotten that he can work wonders if he drives to the rim. Rim, Goran. Goran, rim. Maybe a sexy game of Seven Minutes In Heaven will help you two become re-acquainted. (JB)
9. Robin Lopez (6). Frankly, I'm surprised Lopez is even this high -- and yes, that is realizing the other four basically don't play. At this point, the third-year center is basically a starter in name only, as in the past three games, he's played just 32 combined minutes. When Lopez has actually been on the floor, he's looked slow and no longer seems to have a clue what he's doing. This season has been an enormous step back for RoLo. (SH)
10. Josh Childress (9). Childress continues to see pine time as the odd man out of the wing rotation. He did, though, play nine minutes against the Clippers and Kings. He had another DNP-CD against the Lakers. (JR)
11. Gani Lawal (13). Yep, Gani's still on the team. Hasn't been traded yet. Has not cracked the rotation. Despite having an interesting name, is also buried on the depth chart of interesting Phoenix Suns player names now. (JB)
12. Hakim Warrick (10). In a short amount of time, Hakim Warrick has gone from key reserve to a guy that never gets up off the bench. In the past three games, Warrick has two DNP-CDs and played last night only because of the length and size of the Lakers front line. I'm more comfortable with Jess Root guarding Pau Gasol than I am Warrick. (SH)
13. Garret Siler (12). He is not even with the team, as he was given a stint in the D-League. His eyes are mesmerizing Iowa fans now. (JR)