Welcome to the third installment of the Phoenix Suns Player Thermometer, this time for Week 9 of the NBA. And oh boy, has it been a rough one for the Suns. They've lost four straight games, including games to the cellar-dwelling Los Angeles Clippers (away) and the Philadelphia 76ers (at home).
Really, when a team is playing as badly as the Phoenix Suns are these days, there are no "hot" players, but here is the Player Thermometer nonetheless, in order of who's hottest to who's nottest. Last week's ranking is in parentheses.
1. Jared Dudley (4). Dudley, the starting shooting guard, had the game of his life against Miami last week when he posted a 33/12 performance. Not surprisingly, the game was still a loss. He came crashing back to earth in his final start before Vince Carter, scoring just six points on 1/5 shooting in the embarrassing loss to the Clippers. Dudley was back in his bench role last night, scoring seven points in 21 minutes of action. The fact that he's number one on this list is an indictment of how truly awful the Suns are playing right now. (Scott Howard)
2. Steve Nash (2). Our favorite Sun struggled with shooting last week, but put together a couple of very good games. He shot 9-23 from the field and 2-8 from three. Not very Nash-like. Against Miami, he had 18 assists in a game in where we thought he might pull off the record for assists in a game without scoring. Alas, he had four points. Against the Clippers, he had 21 and 15, but shot 8-19. He did not turn over the ball once against Los Angeles. (Jess Root)
3. Grant Hill (1). Old Man Hill continues to be one of the most steady and productive players on the roster this year, despite being the oldest player on the roster. He has averaged 15.3 points and five rebounds a game over the Suns' three-game losing streak this past week. However, even though Hill's played well so far, relying on a 38-year-old as your workhorse is always a bad idea when it comes to pro basketball. (Justin Burning)
4. Mickael Pietrus (12). Though the Frenchman had a rocky debut against Miami (1/6 from the field), he's come on strong in his last two games, shooting 14/22 from the field and combining for 40 points. In watching the game against Philly, Pietrus was seemingly the only bench player even trying to make something happen on offense. Maybe he can teach the other guys a thing or two. (SH)
5. Channing Frye (7). Frye is still struggling with his shooting (10-25, 4-13 for three last week), but is putting together decent point/rebound performances. In the two games last week, he averaged 13/6. Not "wow," not bad, but for the $6 million he is earning, not overpaid. (JR)
6. Robin Lopez (3). Robin Lopez continues his up-and-down season. He started out with 26 points and 12 rebounds over the first two games since the trade and ended the week with a 10-minute, two-point, two-rebound dud against the Los Angeles Clippers (against whom Lopez had a monster 30-point, 12-rebound game last season). Success this season is dependent on Lopez and Dragic developing some consistency. (JB)
7. Marcin Gortat (11). He didn't play a ton in his first game with the team (18 minutes against Miami), but with his role more defined, Gortat has average 12 points and 5.5 rebounds in 31 minutes over the last two games. But perhaps Gortat's biggest contribution to the team was his lighting up of his Suns teammates for their poor defensive effort against Philadelphia. It remains to be seen how the rest of the roster will react. (SH)
8. Goran Dragic (6). "The Dragon" had a bad week. He and the disappointing second unit got killed by the Heat, who supposedly have no talent outside of the "Big Three" and maybe Mike Miller. He shot 2-10 for the week and had a total of four assists for the week. The Suns desperately need more from him. (JR)
9. Josh Childress (5). After putting together a couple of good games last week, Childress delivered a couple of clunkers -- averaging two points and two rebounds in 9.5 minutes a game when the new additions joined the line-up -- before finding himself entirely out of the rotation again against the 76ers. To say Childress's time in Phoenix has been a disappointment is a pretty heavy understatement. You can't be paying someone $6.5 million to warm the bench. If you are, your team's probably in trouble. (JB)
10. Hakim Warrick (8). A complete inability to play defense has effectively knocked Hakim out of the Suns rotation. In the previous three games, he's played just 30 total minutes and scored eight points. There have been five individual games this season in which he's played more than 30 minutes. Add to that his jump shot that seems to fall at a Barron-like rate and things aren't looking good for War Machine's playing time. (SH)
11. Vince Carter (13). Carter did not play last week because of his sore knee, but all reports say that he is buying into the training and rehab program. This will be key moving forward as Aaron Nelson and his staff seem to be magic. If Grant Hill can post a 30-10 at 38, what can Vince do? We shall see ... (Late note: Vince, in his debut, scored 18 points on 8-20 shooting and was on the court in crunch time with Nash, Hill, Pietrus and Gortat.) (JR)
12. Garret Siler (10). Pretty Eyes is probably just lucky to still be on the team at this point. He's one injury to Steve Nash or Goran Dragic away from being cut for another point guard. (JB)
13. Gani Lawal (9). Back in a suit and probably back to Iowa soon. (SH)