During the latest Suns hot streak, one player has stood out to head coach Jay Triano and its not superstar Devin Booker. The name is second-year forward Marquese Chriss.
“I think his physical conditioning is a lot better now. I think he’s working harder in the weight room, working harder in practices when we have them,” Triano said to Doug & Wolf Tuesday morning on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.
Over the last week Chriss is averaging 10.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, 1.3 steals and shooting 73.3 percent from the floor.
“We’re seeing him run the floor and get alley oops, we’re seeing him run down and get chase down blocks. Those are the energy type things we expected from him that we weren’t getting earlier,” said Triano.
During Booker’s nine-game absence due to injury, the emergence of the Suns bench carried the team to three wins, and their success may have caused reason for a minutes concern for the starters.
Their play has put the starters on notice and Chriss has responded well as the team approaches the midway point in the season.
“I think there has been a little more focus in the minutes that he’s getting. He knows that if there’s a lapse he’s going to come out,” Triano said.
Of course, having your best player back doesn’t hurt. In his three games back, Booker is averaging 30 points, 4.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists. Coincidentally, the Suns have won two of those three games.
Tuesday night, the Suns look to stay hot against the Atlanta Hawks at 7 p.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. The Hawks currently sport the league’s worst record at 10-26.