Brown and Dudley Reunite in Phoenix
Posted: Dec. 11, 2011
It’s amazing what a difference a just a few years make.
During the 2008-09 season, both Jared Dudley and Shannon Brown languished at the end of the bench of a non-playoff team in Charlotte. Fast forward just a few years later, and you’ll see that both players have made valuable imprints on their respective teams and the NBA as a whole.
Brown was a key component and a spark off the bench for two Lakers squads that captured NBA Championships, while Dudley blossomed into a starter and fan favorite for the Suns. Today, the two find themselves as teammates once again, attempting to vault Phoenix back into the playoffs this season.
The 6-4 Brown, who is coming off averaging a career-high 8.7 points a game as a Laker, had his first practice as a Sun on Saturday after recently being signed to a one-year deal.
“(The Suns’) style fits the way that I like to basketball and I love everything about it,” Brown said. “It’s the up and down, continuous basketball and Coach (Alvin) Gentry let’s his guys play. He doesn’t focus on what you can’t do, he tries to let you maximize what you can do out there on the court and that’s what I’m here to do.”
Intricately familiar with Brown's game as a former rival, Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry is looking forward to having his skills on his side for once.
“I think he’s a real athletic guy and obviously he’s been on a winner and he knows what it takes to win championships,” Gentry said. “But I think he gives us another good athlete and a really good defensive player, which was another thing that was attractive to us.”
Dudley concurs with his coach.
“He brings a spark,” he said. “He’s someone who can obviously get the fans excited and you gotta have those high-flyers out here just for the fans’ sake. It can change the momentum sometimes.”
Brown’s improvement is no surprise to Dudley, who remembers seeing his former teammate’s talent in Charlotte at practice every day. Now, Dudley claims that fans are just finally seeing that talent in practice being transitioned to actual games.
“He just didn’t get an opportunity, and neither did I in that system,” Dudley recalled. “It’s crazy.
“He went to Charlotte to the championship Lakers and he had more of a role immediately. It just shows you that it depends on the coach and the system.”
For Brown, the same goes for Dudley. The high-flyer isn’t surprised one bit by JD’s development.
“He goes out and gets the job done,” Brown said. “He’s a winner and wants to win.
“He’s been a good player since he was at Boston College. All he needed was an opportunity and he took advantage of it.”
Now the two find themselves battling for minutes against each other for the role of starting shooting guard. At the finish of ast season, Dudley emerged as the starter at shooting guard over Vince Carter, averaging 10.6 points and 3.9 rebounds a game on 42-percent shooting from downtown.
Besides the 8.7 points a game, Brown averaged 1.9 boards a game, shot 35 percent from behind the arc and made repeated visits to SportsCenter’s Top 10 for the Lakers last season. Since both players have proven their respective value, the pair are downplaying the competition for the starting spot, believing that minutes will go to the players producing the most on the court.
It’s similar to when the duo was struggling on the bench in Charlotte, and would work each other out after practice. Except this time, both of them are doing so as major contributors.
“It’s all about getting each other better,” Brown said.
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