Phoenix Suns Who Must Step Up in Second Half of the Season

Roberto Payne@@HouseofPayne555Contributor IJanuary 25, 2013

Phoenix Suns Who Must Step Up in Second Half of the Season

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    Several players on the Phoenix Suns need to step up their individual performances. 

    The team is just not talented enough to have key players like Michael Beasley and Marcin Gortat not play up to their potential and ability.

    The only way Phoenix will improve this season is if the players are improving on a daily basis.

    In particular, the improvement of these three guys could bring forth change for the better as the second half of the season nears. 

    All statistics used in this article are accurate as of 1/25/13.

Michael Beasley

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    Michael Beasley has been the most disappointing member of the Phoenix Suns this season.

    Not only was Beasley brought in on a $6 million contract but he was also supposed to have matured since his stint in Minnesota.

    So far, Beasley has done nothing to warrant a contract of even half what he got and he's not even starting anymore.

    His defense has been awful, which was expected, but the real surprise was how bad his offense has been.

    He's only shooting 38.1 percent from the field, 31.7 percent from the three-point line and 73.1 percent from the charity stripe—not what you would expect from a player who's supposed to be a scorer.

    As the second half of the season approaches, Beasley should get a shot to succeed under interim coach Lindsey Hunter.

    For Beasley's sake, he has to improve his play both offensively and defensively if he wants to prove he's not a bust.

Markieff Morris

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    Markieff Morris hasn't played terribly this season, but it's tough to say he's improved a lot since last year.

    His stats across the board this season look very similar to his rookie numbers. However, that's not a huge surprise considering he only plays about 20 minutes per game.

    The issue here is he doesn't seem to have improved much since last season. In fact, his shooting percentages from three-point land and the free-throw line have both decreased.

    With that being said, don't be surprised to see Morris get more minutes over the second half of the season.

    Interim coach Lindsey Hunter played him 26 and 25 minutes in Morris's two games under him.

    If that trend continues, it would be safe to assume there will be an increase in his stats across the board.

Marcin Gortat

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    Don't get me wrong—Marcin Gortat has not been terrible this season. He hasn't been amazing, though. 

    He's merely been average.

    For a team that relies on him to be an above-average NBA center, Gortat's play hasn't been enough.

    The biggest issue with Gortat has been his decreased rebounding. Last year, he averaged 10.0 rebounds per game. He's down to only 8.8 rebounds per game this season.

    The Phoenix Suns are among the worst rebounding teams in the league and need their big men to get more boards.

    I don't foresee this being a huge issue as the season progresses, but there's no doubt it would help the Suns out a great deal if Gortat rebounded more effectively.