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Phoenix Suns’ Shannon Brown opening eyes with impressive play

Beware Jared Dudley, Shannon Brown could be poised to take your starting job.

The Suns’ shooting guard came off the bench and exploded for a season-high 24 points and six three-pointers (all of which came in the fourth quarter) against his former team, the Charlotte Bobcats, on Wednesday night.

Brown attributes his success to continued hard work and dedication this offseason and in practice to becoming a more well-rounded and consistent presence on the court.

“Just continue to work and get better as a basketball player,” Brown said. “When I get hot, just shoot the ball, shoot it when I am open, shoot it with rhythm.”

Suns head coach Alvin Gentry echoed that sentiment, saying he’s been impressed with what he’s seen so far from Brown this season.

“We talked about being focused and trying to improve every day he comes out and being aggressive when he’s on the court but not to the point where he shoots bad shots,” Gentry said.

He also said he’s been impressed with Brown’s attitude and work ethic.

“I just think he tries to do the right things. He wants to be a good basketball player and I think that’s the key right there,” Gentry said.

While Brown has opened eyes with his inspired play in a reserve role, the starter Dudley has been mired in a shooting slump. It is far too early to speculate on what Gentry might do, and he hasn’t hinted at making a change, but if Brown continues to perform it would be tough to not go with the hot hand.

In the meantime, the 26-year-old remains focused on his role and helping the Suns win games anyway he can.

“Come out lead by example, go out play hard, bring energy,” Brown stated. “Just go out and do whatever it takes to help this team win, no matter what it is.”

Despite Brown’s impressive start, he knows there are still many areas of his game in which he needs to improve upon.

“I know I still got to continue to get better on a daily basis,” Brown explained. “Still get in, get my shots up, continue to watch film and try to get better as a basketball player and a teammate. My coaches and teammates definitely are going to help me out with that but as of now just continuing to try to get better.”

Gentry said he and Brown have spoken at length about ways he can improve and the shooting guard has taken those words to heart.

“We had a long talk and he just said he wanted to try to get better in all phases of the game and I think his defense has improved tremendously and he’s locked in,” Gentry said.

He has averaged 14 points and two assists in 21 minutes so far this season for the Suns, and his coach is hopeful he’ll play well against another one of his former teams when the Suns host the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday.

Brown said it’s easy to get amped up when facing a team that didn’t keep him in the fold.

“You always want to play good in a place that you were before,” Brown said. “They let you go and you definitely got a chip on your shoulder, it might be a small one but it’s definitely there. You always want to play well no matter what but against former teams, though, you want to let them know.”