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Four Suns Crack SI.com's Top 100 Players List

The Suns' steady accumulation of talent under General Manager Ryan McDonough has not gone unnoticed.

After a 2012-13 season that featured just 25 wins, Phoenix hired McDonough to steer the franchise back toward its once-familiar postseason status. The Suns came within a game of making the playoffs in 2013-14, and were in the playoff hunt until the final two weeks of 2014-15.

In that time, Phoenix has slowly filled its talent cupboard via trade, free agency and draft picks. In gauging the best talent across the league, SI.com included four Suns in its Top 100 NBA players of 2016. Their criteria for the list was explained as follows:

"...rankings were assigned based on a fluid combination of subjective assessment and objective data, including per-game statistics and advanced measures like Player Efficiency Rating, Win Shares, Real Plus-Minus, WARP, Net Rating and Synergy Sports data. This list is an earnest attempt to evaluate each player in a vacuum. As a result, future prospects beyond this season did not play a part in the ranking process, while the influence of team context was minimized to whatever extent was possible. Our sole concern was how players are likely to perform this season alone."

Here's a look at Phoenix's representation in the list, including the players ranked immediately before and after them as well as selections of SI.com's evaluation.

Brandon Knight

81. DeMarre Carroll

80. George Hill

79. Brandon Knight

78. Tobias Harris

77. Jonas Valanciunas

Markieff Morris

66. Chandler Parsons

65. Trevor Ariza

64. Markieff Morris

63. Marcin Gortat

62. Bradley Beal

SI.com on Morris: The 25-year-old Morris is, at heart, a brash gamer: he’s missed just four games during his four-year career, and he seeks the ball in clutch situations, ranking fifth in the NBA in points scored during the final minute of a one-possession game. A tough all-around cover for defenders due to his combination of mobility and strength, Morris relies heavily on his comfort in the mid-range and perimeter to generate his scoring opportunities, but he can also create a shot for himself in one-on-one situations and overpower smaller defenders going to the basket. Morris graded out well defensively last season, ranking sixth among power forwards in Defensive Real Plus-Minus, and his frame suits him well here too: he’s physical and competitive enough to make post-minded fours work for their points, and yet he’s quick and agile enough to track players out to the arc.

Tyson Chandler

40. Pau Gasol

39. Rudy Gobert

38. Brook Lopez

37. Derrick Favors

36. Tyson Chandler

SI.com on Chandler: Phoenix pursued Chandler this summer in part because, as GM Ryan McDonough tells it, the Suns had heard through the grapevine that then-free agent LaMarcus Aldridge had always wanted to play with him. And why wouldn’t he? Chandler is the kind of teammate any competitor would love: fiery, relentless and deeply disciplined. The worst that can be said of Chandler is his play sometimes teeters with nagging injury. Playing the way Chandler does brings its share of strains and tweaks, the sum of which can tax a terrific two-way center to lesser form.

Eric Bledsoe

35. Andre Drummond

34. Kyle Lowry

33. Eric Bledsoe

32. Paul Millsap

31. Gordon Hayward

SI.com on Bledsoe: Eric Bledsoe is a point guard, unless you’d rather him be a shooting guard. A shot creator, unless you’d prefer that he be a cutter. A counter to opposing ballhandlers, unless he’s needed to lock and trail elsewhere. That elasticity is rooted in truly remarkable athleticism. A 6’1” guard shouldn’t be able to bend between positions and responsibilities so easily as Bledsoe does, yet in the case of a miniature bulldozer who moves like a blur, most traditional rules seem not to apply.