Welcome to the Phoenix Suns Player Thermometer for Week 11, another week of embarrassing Suns play and bewildering rotations courtesy of coach Alvin Gentry. This week has included routs at the hands of the New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets, and narrow victories over the cellar-dwelling Cleveland Cavaliers and New Jersey Nets. Huzzah!
This team continues to look like they have no idea what they're doing on the basketball court, nor do they have the desire to try and figure it out. They're going to continue to win a game here and there, but it's getting to the point where every time they take the court, a loss is almost expected, regardless of the team they're playing. Optimism FTW.
Anyway, on to the thermometer, in order of least crap to most crap. Last week's rankings are in parentheses.
1. Steve Nash (2). Frustrations have to be reaching a boiling point for Nash, but he's still managing to put up decent numbers. I say decent only because what Nash has produced in other years has been otherworldly. Nash is shooting "only" 50% from the field and was 3/11 from three on the week, but he has dished out 33 assists. The biggest issue Nash seems to be facing is if the team doesn't get an almost perfect performance out of him, they aren't even close to good enough to beat decent basketball teams. Like everyone else, I'm beginning to wonder how long Nash can put up with the lack of talent around him. (Scott Howard)
2. Channing Frye (7). Channing's shooting still is not quite on track, but after being put back into the starting lineup at power forward, he is once again being effective. He has been doing more than shooting only threes. Now he is being seen making a few nice moves in the post and scoring in the paint. He has averaged nine boards a game in the last three games. (Jess Root)
3. Jared Dudley (4). Dudley's been pretty solid for a few weeks now and this one was no exception. He averaged 13.5 points and 4.8 rebounds over Phoenix's last four games. However, it's generally a bad thing when Jared Dudley is one of your team's stat leaders. He's supposed to be a "glue guy" whose contributions "don't show up on the box score." Alas, with most everyone else playing like crap, he's had to make a box score impact, as well. But that means a lot of other players aren't contributing and that means a lot of losses. (Justin Burning)
4. Goran Dragic (8). Sometimes I think we convince ourselves that Goran Dragic really is a good backup point guard and sometimes we question him after watching him get completely outclassed by someone else's backup. On Tuesday in Denver, Dragic was clearly the second best backup point guard on the floor, as Ty Lawson regularly blew by him to help the Nuggets to a blowout win. I suppose Dragic's lofty position on these rankings may have something to do with almost decent performances against the Knicks and Cavs, but the former involved him posting stats mainly in garbage time and in the latter contest, he managed to accumulate 0 assists in his 16 minutes. That's not very point guard like. (SH)
5. Grant Hill (5). Hill's being in the middle of the pack despite playing only one full game is a testament to the overall suck that the rest of the team has being pulling off. He struggled with his shot against the Knicks and had to guard Amare Stoudemire. He guarded Kobe Byrant and Amare in consecutive games. There has to be an award for that, considering his age. (JR)
6. Marcin Gortat (1). Gortat's been okay since coming over in the trade, but hasn't quite made the impact most Suns fans expected. When he first came over in the trade, he was regularly getting 30+ minutes a game, but over the last four, he's only averaging 15.5 a game, as Alvin Gentry's crazy rotations continue to change. He's still a promising addition, though, and there are much bigger problems to worry about on this team than Gortat's minutes. (JB)
7. Robin Lopez (9). Robin really is a frustrating player to watch. With the Knicks and Amar'e Stoudemire in town, Lopez played only seven garbage time minutes and appeared to possibly be on his way out of the rotation. Yet against Cleveland, he found himself back in the starting lineup and managed to post a 15/6 -- albeit against J.J. Hickson pretending to be a center. Facing Denver on Tuesday, Lopez was unable to stay out of foul trouble and way basically worthless in the game. (SH)
8. Hakim Warrick (12). Alvin Gentry has decided that Warrick needs to be a regular part of the rotation. He is not seeing big minutes, but is getting to the foul line -- something that has been missing in the Suns' offense. (JR)
9. Josh Childress (10). Childress's playing time has been an unpredictable roller coaster of death. He fluctuates wildly between DNP-CDs and starting games and must be going crazy trying to figure out his role on this god-forsaken team. I'm still a firm believer that Childress, when used properly, will be a good addition to this basketball team. (JB)
10. Mikael Pietrus (6). The recently-acquired Frenchman has apparently fallen out of the good graces of Alvin Gentry's random-as-hell rotation, as, in the last two games, he's averaged less than 14 minutes a contest. I'm certain his shooting is one of the causes since Pietrus is just 3/13 since the Knicks game. (SH)
11. Vince Carter (3). Vince put up some numbers and had an impact game against the Nets, but has epitomized the Suns' woes. He's there, he's doing some stuff, but he has not yet really fit in or shown any effort. The Suns will go nowhere if the Vince Carter who doesn't give a crap is playing for them. (JR)
12. Zabian Dowdell (NA). Zabian's back on the Suns. He played, too, against the Denver Nuggets in the blowout loss. He had four points and two assists in 12 minutes of refuse time. Welcome back to the poop party, Zabian! (JB)
13. Garret Siler (13). Siler was recalled from the D-League this week, which in itself was a victory for the portly center. In Tuesday night's embarrassing loss to Denver, he was even able to play in the game -- his first NBA action since December 5th. Apparently, he had two points and three rebounds, although I was too depressed to notice. (SH)
14. Gani Lawal (11). Poor Gani. Had he not blown out his knee, he would have gotten on the court. Heck, Garret Siler and the new guy with a weird name managed to. I guess his luck is the same as his team's. (JR)