Position Breakdown: Shooting Guards
If there is anyone that is closest to the soul of the 2012-13 Suns, it’s swingman Jared Dudley.
A key reserve on a team that advanced to the 2010 NBA Western Conference Finals, Dudley has evolved into as consistent a starter as you’ll find around the NBA. His renowned work ethic and positive attitude have made him the unquestionable leader of this squad.
“I think he’s just a winner,” Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry said. “In most of the situations that he’s around, his team always seems to win.”
When Dudley was drafted out of Boston College in 2007, he was a player trying to make the full conversion from being a frontcourt player to a perimeter player. Through various training methods and dieting, he’s made himself a legitimate starting shooting guard in the league.
“I think he’s a great teammate and he’s made himself a very good shooter,” Gentry said of his improvement. “He’s made himself a better basketball player since he arrived here, and that’s the definition of a true pro right there.”
The 6-7 Dudley is heading into his sixth NBA season, and for the third-straight season, posted the best statistical campaign of his career in 2011-12. In his first full season as a starter, he averaged career highs in points (12.7), rebounds (4.6) and assists (1.7), while shooting a career-best 49 percent from the floor.
His field goal percentage ranked third in the league amongst shooting guards. And although the Suns were 7-2 when he scored 20 or more points last season, Gentry would like to see Dudley re-focus on doing the dirty work that first catapulted him into the Suns’ rotation.
“I’d like for him to assume more of a leadership role on this team and I think he needs to expand his game a little bit more defensively where he goes back to being more of a ‘dirtworker,’” the Suns head coach said.
With all the adjustments Dudley has already made in his career, it’s safe to say that Gentry will get what he asks from his shooting guard.
Brown shot 42 percent from downtown as a starter for the Suns last season.
(Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images)
When Suns shooting guard Shannon Brown arrived in Phoenix last season, the Suns were picking up a player that signed a one-year deal because he was betting on how well he’d do in the Valley.
A year later, Brown re-signed with the Suns for two seasons after posting a career year in 2011-12. Brown averaged a career-best 11 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists in his third-straight year of increased scoring.
“For him, coming into a new environment and a new system was really tough and it took him a while to adjust,” Gentry said. “But I thought he was playing the best basketball of his career at the end of last year."
Not only did Brown bring a spark off the bench, he also filled in admirably when Suns small forward Grant Hill missed games to injury. During that stretch, the 6-4 guard averaged 15.6 points on 42-percent shooting from behind the arc.
After a year in Gentry’s system, expect Brown to add even more of an offensive punch when he’s on the court.
“I’m going to have him handle the ball a little more in situations,” Gentry said. “I think he’ll probably be involved screen-and-rolls a little bit more and he’s our one guy that I think we could throw the ball to and isolate him so he can create for himself.”
Although Brown is entering his seventh season, the former Michigan St. Spartan is still only 26 years old and entering the prime of his career. His career-high 33 double-digit scoring efforts last season proves his career is still on the rise.
“I think he knows what we’re asking of him this year and he’s still a young player that’s trying to get better,” Gentry said.
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