The 4 most improved Phoenix Suns players this season

The Phoenix Suns have needed help from throughout their roster to remain competitive this season, and these four players have stepped up.
Phoenix Suns v Dallas Mavericks
Phoenix Suns v Dallas Mavericks / Ron Jenkins/GettyImages
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2. Jusuf Nurkic

It speaks volumes that center Jusuf Nurkic has worked his way onto this list. There were supposed to be a whole host of reasons why the Suns banking on him to deliver consistently for them was going to backfire. These included the fact they gave up a former first overall pick in Deandre Ayton for him, that he hadn't been properly healthy in years, and that he just wasn't good enough.

Surely if you're expecting Nurkic to be a starter on a title-winning team, then there is only so far you can go. Only the doubters forgot to factor in one crucial piece of the puzzle. Nurkic in theory was everything this Suns group ever needed. A big bruiser who - unlike Ayton before him - actively looked forward to doing the dirty work and who would then get out of the way for the stars to cook.

It certainly helps that Nurkic is an excellent screener, passer and can move well without the ball. All little things that help the Suns continue to motor along offensively. On the other end of the court, coach Vogel has gotten the absolute most out of Nurkic as well. Amazing given that he was not always thought of as a high level player on that end.

Yes Nurkic has his limitations, and it is also true that he's had to sit entire fourth quarters of some games depending on matchups. But the fact even that doesn't bother him is also a huge plus. The most important number here is 54 - which is games played and started - while 11.8 points and 10.3 boards each night has also been huge. A massive return to form for the Bosnian.