3 Phoenix Suns who need monster second halves to save their jobs

The Phoenix Suns are gearing up for a run to the postseason, and these three players need monster second halves to save their jobs.

Sacramento Kings v Phoenix Suns
Sacramento Kings v Phoenix Suns / Chris Coduto/GettyImages
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The NBA's All-Star Weekend is now officially behind us, and the Phoenix Suns can return to the task at hand of trying to win a first championship in franchise history. Their play through the early goings of the season made that dream look like a foolish one, and even now there are better outfits in the Western Conference.

But their climb up the standings and 33-22 record at least makes the possibility of a deep playoff run seem more plausible than it did as recently as Christmas Day, and the Suns have their "Big 3" of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal to thank for that. Although Beal is again currently out injured - this time with a hamstring tweak - he is expected back when the Suns return to action Thursday.

At the other end of the bench however, there are guys fighting for minutes and a spot on this team, and these three need to have an impact from here on out to save their jobs.

Before examining who these players are and why they are in the position they currently find themselves, a special mention needs to be given to somebody who managed to work themselves off this list. A center in name only who can't defend, but has somehow endeared himself not only to a defensive-minded head coach in Frank Vogel, but his superstar teammate in Durant as well.

That would be Bol Bol, who at this stage is coming off the bench more frequently than the start of the season and is putting up close to four points per game. That might not seem like a lot - and in the grand scheme of what the Suns want to achieve it isn't - but compared to December when he averaged 2.6 minutes and 0.8 points across five games, it is a huge improvement.

3. Udoka Azubuike

It is going to be hard for Azubuike to see the court between now and the end of the season, but the trade deadline may just have worked in his favor. The front office shipped out four players in order to bring in Royce O'Neale and David Roddy, with two of the four being Keita Bates-Diop and Chimezie Metu.

Both defensive players, with Metu in particular in direct competition with Azubuike for minutes. The fact he even made the cut and was kept at all is a win for the player, especially as the Suns look like they may be active in the buyout market and could use the roster spots. They've already added Thaddeus Young - who will get run before Azubuike, but who is 35-years-old.

Young still hasn't even cleared waivers and is sure to be kept fresh for the postseason, giving Azubuike some time to show he belongs on this roster. But with only 14 games played so far this season and 7.6 minutes averaged, it would be fair to say that he is clinging onto one of the final roster spots here for dear life.

Being on a two-way contract, there is only so much time Azubuike can spend with the Suns anyway, which does not help his case. He is a big body inside but doesn't shoot 3-pointers, barely gets to the line (less than an attempt per game and shooting an awful 27.3 percent when there) and his 2.3 rebounds per night could do with increasing as well. This will be an uphill battle for Azubuike.