Grading the Phoenix Suns' starting five at the halfway point of the season

The Phoenix Suns are halfway through their season, here is how their starting five have graded up to this point.
USC v Arizona
USC v Arizona / Chris Coduto/GettyImages
5 of 5

Jusuf Nurkic

The biggest question mark in this starting five, but center Nurkic has done really well to silence a lot of the doubters who questioned why on earth the Suns would give up a former first overall pick in Ayton for a player who has had his fair share of injury issues.

Yet at this point in the campaign it is Nurkic who has missed all but two games - and both of those were for personal reasons that had nothing to do with injury - while Ayton has been literally snowed in and unable to go and play a game for the Trail Blazers. You don't win a championship playing the first half of the season and missing the second but so far, Nurkic has delivered.

dark. Next. Bol Bol's value to Suns has only increased while out injured. Bol Bol's value to Suns has only increased while out injured

Coach Vogel has managed to get some juice out of him defensively, while his passing, cutting and willingness to do whatever dirty work around the fringes that needs to be handled has been excellent. About the only negative here is the aforementioned moving of Durant to the center position down the road, and what that will mean for Nurkic.

He was also recently benched for the entire fourth-quarter of an ugly loss to the L.A. Clippers and while that could just have been coach Vogel using a lost game to try some things out, it did feel kind of telling. As much as he has performed well in his role during the regular season, the role itself is likely to diminish as time goes on. Still, this has been a win for the Suns and Nurkic to this point.