Phoenix Suns reserves Jared Dudley and Lou Amundson
Jared Dudley and Lou Amundson gave the Phoenix Suns, always considered soft in the NBA, some much-needed muscle last season. These guys were about taking it to opponents on defense. They did stuff that was mind-blowing — hassling the hell out of offensive players, blocking shots, grabbing rebounds, and in Dudley's case, scoring baskets at crucial times. A deadly three-point shooter, Dudley could also scrap under the goal. Along with Amundson, the two would shoot, get their own rebound, shoot again, miss, shoot again, and usually make the basket. It was hustle at its finest. Dudley will definitely be back; he'll come off the bench at small forward in the coming season. He will play a lot behind aging starter Grant Hill. But at this writing, we're not so sure about Loooooooouuuuu, a huge crowd favorite at US Airways Center. He was a free agent in the off-season, and nobody had met his salary demands at this writing. Consider this irony: When Dudley and starting shooting guard Jason Richardson came to the Suns in a trade with the Charlotte Bobcats for Boris Diaw, Raja Bell, and Sean Singletary, all anybody talked about was Richardson, a former two-time NBA slam-dunk champion/jump-shooting star. But last season, though Richardson was a solid-enough performer, he paled in comparison to trade-afterthought Dudley. In his reserve role, Dudley was often the difference between winning and losing, the anchor of Coach Alvin Gentry's suddenly superb bench. Here's hoping this tandem stays together and continues laying the hardwood to opponents.