This is the 8th installment of the 2009-10 Phoenix Suns player report cards. We're using the old-school A-F system for continuity’s sake. Today the spotlight’s on Louis Amundson.
Everyone needs a Lou Amundson. Not just a basketball team. Having Lou around the house would be a good thing. He's the type of roommate who'd eat the last bag of Doritos but then he'd go out and buy a new one. Lou would probably do the yard work, he wouldn't get hammered drunk and urinate in the corner and he wouldn't try to move in on a girl you brought home from a bar. I doubt he'd clean much, but he probably wouldn't make much of a mess. Lou's like that older cousin you had growing up who was really cool. He was quiet but he had a pony tail and everything he did was cool, so you idolized him. Mom can I grow a pony tail like cousin Lou?
*ed note: I realize Lou didn't have the pony tail until recently and was an Ashton Kutcher look alike. Acknowledging that would have ruined my ode to Lou.
A little advice to you Lou, (who may not be a Sun in a few weeks). You did buy a house in Scottsdale. The real estate market is depressed. You'd take a loss. Let's be practical. Phoenix is your home. Maybe take Sarver's low-ball offer and hang out for a couple more years, yes?
Louis Amundson was signed out of the Summer League in which he played for the Warriors in 2008. Credit Kerr, Griffin, and Terry Porter (credit to Porter is optional of course) for spotting Lou and recognizing that Amundson was exactly what the Suns needed. Said Steve Kerr:
"We just felt like there was too big of a drop-off over the last couple of years when Steve (Nash) went out of the game and that we couldn't always survive on just making jump shots,...You have to be able mix it up, get offensive rebounds and make ‘dirt-worker plays,' as Cotton Fitzsimmons used to say. You have to be able to draw charges and create extra possessions."
Lou knew what he brought to the table and had little illusion that he could play in the NBA and what his value could be to a team, especially one known for being soft on the boards like the Suns:
"I bring athleticism, toughness and a defensive mindset...I've been told they want to go in that direction and add a little bit of depth in that area."
The Suns needed Louis Amundson. Lou needed an NBA job. Now that's a perfect fit. A guy without an ego who knew his role, cameoff the bench, oftentimes when PHX was getting slammed on the boards, and mixed it up with the beasts of the league, getting under their skin without any fear.
Nene flagrant vs. Phoenix (via coronaftw)
You can understand how some of the millionaire-overly-hyped bigs in the league could get annoyed by some undersized pony tailed wearing nobody boxing you out and standing up to your attempts to intimidate him.
Lou even had the stones to take on Shaq in the battle of pranks:
Phoenix Suns: Shaq Gets Pranked - April 14, 2009 (via PhoenixSunsVideos)
This past season Lou was the spark to many of the Suns come from behind victories. Let us not forget the infamous Mavs game in which the Suns bench, sparked by Lou's 7 4th quarter points which enabled Alvin Gentry to leave Amare Stoudemire-he of the one rebound performance on the bench for the entire 4th quarter. And Amare didn't even complain. Of course there were other great performances by Lou. Games where that one rebound, steal, block, or tip in changed the course of the game. Lou solidified the Suns bench, and while lacking any real offensive acumen, the kid could sky for an alley-oop and occasionally drop a 10 footer.
The numbers don't scream out to us, and why would they for a guy who averaged 10-15 minutes a game, depending on the opponent? But Lou's rebounds per 48 minutes put him in good company among Western Conference secnd unit forwards: 4th among those with at least 40 games under their belts as bench players. No doubt many teams in the league are looking at those numbers and preparing a much better offer than Sarver and Co. will.
There were stretches this season where Lou saw his role and playing time diminish. Yet he always took it in stride, his attitude never changed. If he sat, he was prepared to get on the floor and do what the Suns needed him to do. He never complained, knowing his value would eventually get him back on the court.
What say you all?