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Phoenix Suns

Updated Apr 5, 2011 - 10:49 am

Dudley: Steve Nash is more valuable than Kobe Bryant

Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash, left, drives to the basket past Sacramento Kings forward Francisco Garcia during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, March 29, 2011. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Anyone who thinks the Phoenix Suns don't need Steve Nash has obviously watched the last two games, and a majority of the season, with their eyes closed. For most people the question isn't if they need him but just how important he is to the franchise.

If you ask team president Lon Babby he'll tell you he's the celestial bodies of the Suns solar system. If you ask forward Jared Dudley he'll take it one step further and tell you he's more important than one of the league's biggest stars.

"Steve Nash is more valuable to our team, and I'm honestly saying this, than a Kobe Bryant is to the Lakers," he told Sports 620 KTAR's Doug and Wolf. "With the triangle they still have [Pau] Gasol who you run it through. We don't have that person to run it through. When he's not going to be there, the scoreboard might not look like we're playing hard but we were out there as a team trying to grind it out. It's just difficult."

More important than Kobe? Those are strong words for a NBA player to say about anyone let alone about a 37-year-old guard who's team failed to make the playoffs.

Although the statement seems brash, the statistics back up Dudley's assertion.

Despite the team's significant drop off from last season, Nash still leads the league in double-digit assist games (48), leads all guards with 41 double-doubles -- that includes Bryant -- and recorded a league-high 18 games with 15 or more assists.

Not enough? How about joining Magic Johnson, John Stockton and Oscar Robertson as the only players with a 20-assist game in six different seasons? That's not to mention Nash is about to win yet another league assist title.

It may sound crazy for Dudley to claim that Nash is more valuable to the Suns than Kobe is to the Lakers, but the statistics, and the team's play the last two games, don't lie. Without Nash the Suns are lost on the offensive end and in general.

The argument holds even more weight when it is coming from one of someone who has first-hand knowledge of how his career can be elevated by playing along side the two time MVP.

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