The Suns are terrible. There’s really no way around that. They’ve gone 4-26 in their last 30 games and are winless through four contests with interim coach Earl Watson in charge. But there is definitely room for improvement.
In Jeff Hornacek‘s second full season as head coach of the Phoenix Suns, he lead his team to a 14-25 record, prompting his dismissal in early February.
Watson, former Suns assistant coach, took over as head coach after Hornacek was immediately fired following the double-digit loss to the Dallas Mavericks on January 31.
Their defense has been horrible. They have fallen second to last in the league with 106.4 points per game scored against them. To add insult to injury, they’re responsible for a shameful .528 FG % against opponents, making it the worst in all of basketball.
Eric Bledsoe, their leading scorer averaging 20.4 points per game, has been out of the lineup since December 26, when he tore his meniscus in his left knee. He underwent surgery the following week and the
Suns have scrambled for an alternative leading scorer.
Brandon Knight has been banged up the last few games with an ailing groin, and is expected to return after the All-Star break. Knight is the team’s second leading scorer with 19.7 points per game. Until Knight returns, the Suns will be without two of their best players.
The negatives seem endless. However, there does seem to be light at the end of the tunnel. The solution to the long-lasting problem is simple: Markieff Morris. In Watson’s first game as head coach, he penciled Morris into the starting lineup, and was pleased with the results.
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On his way to his first double-double on the season, Morris dropped 30 points and hauled in 11 rebounds. Since Watson has been appointed head coach, Morris has seen his numbers skyrocket to 20.3 PPG and 35.7 MPG.
Although it’s been four games and they’re currently winless under Watson, there is a definite sense of optimism and hope for the future. Morris has significantly improved, and 19-year old rookie Devin Booker continues to hit threes. 21-year old Archie Goodwin has emerged as a high-scoring starter since Bledsoe went down with the injury.
Booker has averaged 10.7 points per game in his rookie campaign, and Goodwin has racked up 14.1 PPG since January.
If Morris continues to play at a successful rate, the Suns will have their hands full when the February 18 trade deadline rolls around. If they do end up trading trading Morris, his enhanced play will impact what they get in return.
Although fans are ready to bid farewell to the season that never was, the Bledsoe-Knight-Booker-Goodwin combination will be vital for the future of the franchise. The top-two leading scorers, the 19-year old phenom, and the polished-Goodwin will allow the Suns to soon be in contention, and no longer known as the little-brother in the Western Conference.