Brown Showing Well in Renewed Role with Suns

by Matt Petersen

With most of the attention on newcomers and youngsters, Suns veteran Shannon Brown is quietly proving to be a versatile asset in Head Coach Jeff Hornacek’s uptempo offense.

The 6-4 swingman opened the preseason by amassing nine points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block against Maccabi Haifa in just 18 minutes off the bench. Two nights later he was a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line before finishing with nine points, three rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block in 21 minutes, this time as the starting shooting guard.

After spending the latter portion of last season on the bench, Brown is enjoying his renewed role on the team.

“It was fun to get out there after having to sit on the bench for a long time last year,” he said. “It was good to get out there. I’m still trying to get my rhythm and my timing back.”

Rhythm and timing haven’t been as much of an issue thus far. Brown appears tailor-made for this season’s offense, especially in transition. The eight-year veteran has appeared equally comfortable handling the ball or receiving it in transition.

“He’s a solid player,” Hornacek said. “You know what you’re going to get. He’s athletic. He can get out in the court in our open game, so he should be good at it.”

“I love the style,” Brown said. “I like to get out. I like to run. The offense we’re putting in was made for basketball players.”

The Suns currently have 18 basketball players, with the vast majority of them younger than Brown, who said the situation reminds him of his 18-year-old brother, who currently plays at Southern Methodist University.

“I appreciate the young guys. They’re gonna keep me young,” he laughed. “They’re gonna keep me going harder. I’ve got a younger brother that’s 18 that’s at SMU right now. It’s almost like I got to take them back to the backyard.”

“I’m older, but I’m young,” he added. “I’m 27, you know what I mean? So I’ve still got a lot more in me.”

It doesn’t hurt that many of Brown’s teammates boast similar athleticism. When Hornacek runs units that pair Brown with Gerald Green, Eric Bledsoe or any other of the Suns’ elite athletes, the results are as fast as the pace.

“[Monday], Maccabi tried to throw a zone at us, and we got some penetration, I threw a lob to Gerald [Green] and he caught it,” Brown said. “Stuff like that is fun to me. Now I can be on both sides of it. I can be on the receiving end and I’m the one that can throw it, so it opens it up for me a little bit more. Anytime you’ve got guys that are athletic and can run the wing it puts pressure on the defense.”