Phoenix Suns Season Preview Series, Part 3.2: Players

Welcome to part 3.2 - Player previews continued after the jump.

Jared Dudley

Season

Team

G

GS

MPG

FG%

3p%

FT%

OFF

DEF

RPG

APG

SPG

BPG

TO

PF

PPG

08-09

PHX

48

0

15.2

0.481

0.394

0.691

1.2

1.9

3.0

0.8

0.8

0.1

0.69

1.40

5.5

 

Jared Dudley was a surprise to many last year. Thrown in as a bonus in the Richardson trade, Dudley proved his worth as a hustle player and even a deep ball threat. Dudley earned every minute he played last season and quickly became a fan favorite for the tenacity he showed on the court. Look for him to build on his successes from last season and continue to earn his time.

This summer Dudley was a gym rat. Through his twitter feed he let fans get a glimpse of his work ethic while in Vegas. He played with great players from across the country day in and day out and – according to himself – found an even purer 3-point stroke. If he did in fact improve from outside, I think he’ll get lots of minutes and lots of buckets playing alongside Nash.

 

Taylor Griffin

Alright, I’m not really going to waste anybody’s time with Taylor Griffin. Look for him at the end of the bench or in Iowa. If you really want more on him find his very unimpressive college stats.

 

3. Bigs – The Suns are back without a true big. A year and a half ago they brought in one of the most dominant big men of all time and the training staff even revived his corpse and returned him to the player he was 5 years ago. Yet, despite all of this, the Suns missed the playoffs and the experiment failed. Now the Suns are back with smaller "bigs" ready to return to the glory days of the run n’ gun. Will it work? Well, that’s just another in the long line of if’s this season. Will it be fun? Heck yes it will!

 

Amare Stoudemire

Season

Team

G

GS

MPG

FG%

3p%

FT%

OFF

DEF

RPG

APG

SPG

BPG

TO

PF

PPG

08-09

PHX

53

53

36.8

0.539

0.429

0.835

2.2

5.9

8.1

2.0

0.9

1.1

2.83

3.10

21.4

 

Probably the biggest key to this season is Amare Stoudemire. For the first time, his is the only big-time ego on the roster. I’ve been saying it for months now, Amare is going to have a monster year this year. Yes there are health concerns and yes his eye may just pop right out of his head. But barring that, Amare will be an All NBA player this season. We know that Amare is driven by two things – 1) money and 2) ego. Amare is in a contract year and is playing for the money he thinks he deserves. Amare has always come back strong from injury when others said he couldn’t. Amare will return as a focal point of the offense and will once again be the receiver of the many Nash gifts off of the high screen and roll.

This offseason Amare spent 22 hours/day for 10 days straight on his stomach letting his eye drain after surgery. He has been back playing ball for the last little while and says that he is 100% healthy and close to 100% conditioning wise. He will return to the court with a vengeance – the only difference will be that the goggles will be a more…umm…permanent fixture this season.

 

Channing Frye

Season

Team

G

GS

MPG

FG%

3p%

FT%

OFF

DEF

RPG

APG

SPG

BPG

TO

PF

PPG

08-09

POR

63

1

11.8

0.423

0.333

0.722

0.7

1.6

2.2

0.4

0.3

0.2

0.46

1.70

4.2

 

Frye is looking for a fresh start in a familiar place. Last season Frye averaged under 12 minutes a game but was known by many in Portland to be a "nice guy." Frye is a crowd pleaser but is ready to please on the court as well as off. Coach Gentry has made it clear that he plans on using Frye in the starting role along with Amare. While they won’t be intimidating any front lines with their size, they will score buckets. Both are able to spread the floor and Frye is expected to be a threat from beyond the 3-point line. As long as Frye produces the starting spot will be his but if his production starts to slip Gentry could decide to go small with a lineup that puts Clark at PF the same way D’Antoni used to play Amare and Marion.

This offseason Frye was busy transitioning to his new team. He should make good use of training camp and get himself into Gentry-ball shape while learning the playbook and the defensive rotations.

 

Robin Lopez

Season

Team

G

GS

MPG

FG%

3p%

FT%

OFF

DEF

RPG

APG

SPG

BPG

TO

PF

PPG

08-09

PHX

60

7

10.2

0.518

0.000

0.691

0.9

1.1

2.0

0.1

0.2

0.7

0.47

1.60

3.2

Lopez, like Dragic, had a very disappointing rookie campaign. He seemed to have trouble with the mental aspects of the game. This season the Suns are looking for a lot of improvement from the young man out of Stanford as he is really the only Center-sized big on the roster. Robin will have to cut down on fouls (he tends to foul at an alarming rate) and learn the playbook. He will be given the same chance as others to prove himself but look for him to be on a short leash should continue to be prone to make mistakes.

Robin played in the Las Vegas Summer League and showed flashes of brilliance (including a monster double-double in the first game) but he also appeared lost a lot of the time. Expect to see that throughout the season when he gets his minutes.

 

Louis Amundson

Season

Team

G

GS

MPG

FG%

3p%

FT%

OFF

DEF

RPG

APG

SPG

BPG

TO

PF

PPG

08-09

PHX

76

0

13.7

0.536

0.000

0.442

1.7

1.9

3.6

0.4

0.4

0.9

0.74

2.00

4.2

"Sweet Lou" was another player to win over the hearts of Phoenix fans last season. He was a ball of energy out on the court – nonstop hustle. Limited offensively he more than made up for it by being willing to guard any big man in the league no matter how overmatched he was and by constantly diving on the floor while pissing opposing players off at the same time. Lou gave you everything that you could possibly want from an "energy" guy and like Dudley he earned every minute he played.

Apparently Lou worked on his free throw touch this offseason. After shooting an abysmal 44% last season it has been reported that he’s shooting above 90% so far in camp. If he could somehow translate that into makes in real pressure situations he may earn himself another minute or two.

 

So there you have it, your known Suns roster. Are there a lot of question marks? Yes. Is there a chance this whole thing just blows up in everyone’s faces and fails miserably? Sure. But is there a chance for greatness? I think so. I think anytime you have two All-NBA caliber talents (Amare/Nash), mixed with an All Star talent (JRich), have a great 6th man to come in and keep things going off of the bench (Barbosa) and solid role players all operating under one philosophy…lets just say crazier things have happened. So, for the record, I’m in. I’m orange. I’ve got my eye on the prize, whatever you want to call it. This season should be fun again and we should see success because of that. Will we win it all…hey, probably not. But after last season, wouldn’t you rather see a united team that has fun and is fun to watch go out in the second round (which is my prediction) with guns blazing than what we saw last year?

Why the optimism you might ask…well, lets just say that as a fan you ride with your team through thick and thin. After all, it’s not like we have a reset button…fortunately for us though, Steve Kerr does.

 Part 3.1

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