Editor’s Note: I would like to give a very warm welcome to Gerald, our new staff writer. You’ll be seeing him around on the site. Either way, for his first piece he did a little piece on the Suns’ dynamic wing duo that exploded last week. Go on, stop reading the italics.
When Grant Hill went down with a knee injury a few weeks ago, the Suns lost a key offensive contributor and their best defensive stopper. So how are the boys in purple and orange still in the playoff hunt at only one game back in the West? Well, because they’re seeing a lot of Brown and Redd.
Shannon Brown has made the most of his expanded minutes since being inserted into the starting lineup, averaging 17.5 points in eight games while Michael Redd has become instant offense off the bench, single-handedly engineering scoring runs while the starters get a rest. Redd has been amazingly efficient, putting up 17.2 points in just over 20 minutes over his last five games. Although neither Brown nor Redd contribute much other than scoring, the Suns are taking what they can get right now and riding their hot streaks. It’s an interesting story when one remembers what these two players amounted to before this resurgence in Phoenix: Shannon Brown was known as little more than an enigmatic dunker and Michael Redd’s career was thought to be all but over before the season started. Now both are key contributors to a playoff-hungry squad looking to get Steve Nash one more postseason opportunity before it’s time for him to decide whether or not he’ll be taking his talents somewhere else (South Beach, perhaps?).
There was a slight adjustment period when Grant Hill missed his first two games, but since then the Suns have won five of their last six. Make no mistake, this team still operates around Nash and the pick-and-roll with Marcin Gortat, but the Suns are tough to stop when Shannon Brown starts feeling it and the defense gets no letup when Michael Redd takes his place. So far it’s been an unexpectedly dynamic 1-2 punch that’s keeping Phoenix in the playoff picture.