Player of the Week: Youth shows growth

SAN ANTONIO, TX - JANUARY 5: Marquese Chriss
SAN ANTONIO, TX - JANUARY 5: Marquese Chriss /

In the first week of January 2018, the Phoenix Suns have seen legitimate growth from several young players on this roster.

The first player of the week award of 2018 could easily go to Devin Booker or T.J. Warren with their overall performances. However, that’s not going to be case and this is because of the improved play of the Phoenix Suns young players. The young player that has the most surprising improvement is Marquese Chriss. He has shown flashes of being a dangerous offensive weapon. The improved play of Chriss earns him the first player of the week award of 2018.

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On the second day of the new year, the Suns had a victory against the Atlanta Hawks. In the contest, Chriss was a great third wheel to Warren and Booker. He ended with 17 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two blocks, while making half of his 12 shots from the floor and 3-7 from the 3-point line. This game was his first with a double-double this season and his third with double digit rebounds.

In a loss against the Denver Nuggets, Chriss had another strong performance with 16 points, four rebounds, one assist and five steals. His shooting cooled a bit in this game. He went 6-13 on field goal attempts and 3-9 from behind the arc. Chriss was tied as the Suns’ second leading scorer in the blowout.

Chriss again was the second leading scorer for the Suns in the defeat against the San Antonio Spurs. Chriss had 12 points, seven rebounds, one assist, two steals and one block. He shot 6-17 from the floor, but didn’t make any of his five 3-point attempts. Besides his nonexistent 3-point shot and four turnovers, Chriss had a very good game without Warren.

In the last game of the first seven days of January, Chriss went down in the second quarter with an injury. Before he left the game, Chriss had two points, two assists, one steal and one block. He missed all of his shots from the floor, but he did make both of his free throw attempts.

Honorable Mention

After not playing the first game of the new year, Josh Jackson finished the week strong. He averaged 14.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.7 steals and blocks, while shooting 48.6 percent from the floor and 55.6 from 3-point land. Jackson also had his first double-double of his career this past week as well.

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Chriss ended the week with an average of 11.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.0 block and 2.0 steals per game, while shooting 40.0 percent on field goal attempts and 25.0 percent on 3-point shots. Seeing young players like Chriss and Jackson improving in season is encouraging for the Phoenix Suns and their fans. Hopefully as the season continues, all of the Suns’ young players will show steady growth.