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Phoenix Suns

Al McCoy: Dudley, Beasley showing improvement in new roles with Suns

Phoenix Suns' Jared Dudley (3) passes around New York Knicks' Tyson Chandler (6) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, in Phoenix. The Knicks won 99-97. (AP Photo/Matt York)

The Phoenix Suns lack a marquee player on the roster, and instead have been forced to tinker with their lineup to generate offensive production.

The Suns boast an 11-18 record but an abysmal 2-11 mark away from US Airways Center. Alvin Gentry's squad will open a crucial three-game road trip Friday night in Indiana and will face a trio of difficult opponents in the Pacers, Timberwolves and Thunder over the coming days.

Suns play-by-play announcer Al McCoy told Arizona Sports 620's Doug & Wolf Friday he thinks the team's young and inexperienced roster has had trouble finding confidence in a hostile environment.

"It's a young team, it's players that haven't played together until this year and of course the starting lineup just changed a couple weeks ago," McCoy said.

One player who has stepped it up as of late is Jared Dudley, who is coming off a career-high 36 point night against the Knicks Wednesday.

McCoy thinks Dudley has emerged as a team leader with the Suns, and he attributes that to the 27-year-old finding comfort in his new role.

"I think that moving Jared Dudley into the starting lineup in that small forward position, which is his natural position, has been a tremendous plus for the Suns," McCoy said.

Another positive change for Phoenix has been moving the beleaguered Michael Beasley to a bench role. McCoy is encouraged with what the Suns are getting from Beasley in that capacity.

"I think bringing him off the bench probably was an excellent move for coach Alvin Gentry for a couple reasons," McCoy stated. "He doesn't always have to play against the other starting forward but he's playing off the bench of the opposition and obviously in that scenario he can use his quickness, his ability to pass the ball, his ability to get it to the hoop so it looks like that could put him in a position to be more of a consistent contributor. They certainly could use him."

The Suns will continue to need steady production from a number of role players while the team keeps searching for that franchise player they can lean on and build around. In the meantime, McCoy said the Suns will have to work with what they have.

"The go-to guy scenario has been one that has been questioned all year," McCoy explained. "There aren't any superstars on this ballclub and so you have to kind of pick and choose who that individual might be that would take the last shot."


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