Zabian Dowdell signs with Suns for rest of season

Posted by on February 6th, 1:42 pm

Zabian Dowdell has finally made it in the NBA. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Zabian Dowdell has finally made it in the NBA. (AP Photo/Matt York)

At long last Zabian Dowdell’s dream has come to fruition.

After chasing that dream for four years throughout Europe, the D-League, Summer League and finally two 10-day contracts with Phoenix, the Suns announced Sunday that they have signed Dowdell for the remainder of the season.

Dowdell has averaged 3.2 points and 1.8 assists in five games with the Suns over the length of his two 10-day contracts. He’s come especially in handy the last three games taking over the backup point guard role from the injured Goran Dragic. He will be Nash’s backup for at least one more game, but Dragic could return thereafter on Thursday against the Warriors.

According to The Arizona Republic, Dowdell had a meeting with Suns execs Lon Babby and Lance Blanks after Friday’s loss to the Thunder concerning his status for the rest of the year.

“I went in there with an open mind, but I smiled,” Dowdell told the paper. “I tried to hold it all in, but it was a great moment.”

Dowdell’s confidence has been impressive in going toe to toe with top point guards like Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook this week, but once Dragon returns his value will mainly come by being a solid practice player who can push Dragic and run the team when Nash sits out practices.

A recent Sports Illustrated feature detailed Dowdell’s climb to the NBA that started 10 years ago when Dowdell wrote himself a motivational letter in which he told himself, “Nothing will stop me from making it to the NBA. I am on a mission.”

Dowdell’s mission is complete, but now the bigger challenge is sticking longer than the cup of coffee the Suns are giving him the rest of this season.

After his rotation debut Sunday against the Hornets, Dowdell said, “I was ready, man. It’s been a long time, but I’ve been working, and I always felt like I belonged here, so that’s how I feel when I go out there.”

Dowdell has played some solid on-ball defense, done a little scoring and made some nice dishes, but the offense has also gotten stagnant at times with him running the show as it often does with Nash on the bench.

Still, Dowdell has done enough to deserve his season-long contract, and now he can stop living day to day without knowing whether each game in Phoenix will be his last as he attempts to carve out a long-term role for himself in the NBA.

And 1

The Suns’ roster now stands one above the league minimum at 14. In the past they have stuck at the minimum of 13 (although they finished last year at 14), but that’s not as big of an issue this year with the team below the luxury tax. … Dowdell was selected to the D-League All-Star Game but must forego that opportunity since he will be on an NBA roster when the game takes place. For some reason, I don’t think he’s going to have a problem with that.

Michael Schwartz founded ValleyoftheSuns in October 2008 and is the owner/editor emeritus of the site. He is currently working toward his MBA in sports business at San Diego State University.

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Tags: Phoenix Suns · Phoenix Suns News · Zabian Dowdell

13 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mike Meez // Feb 6, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Good for him. I think he deserves it. His stats aren’t anything special, but when he’s out there he looks like an NBA caliber player.

  • 2 shawn // Feb 6, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    Im happy for him…..go suns

  • 3 shazam // Feb 6, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    if given the chance dowdell will b better than dragic..other than a few 6 minute stretchs last year that made everyone go ga ga goran has been a moron

  • 4 Jed // Feb 6, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    I disagree completely. Dragic has the potential to be something really special.

    I don’t mind having Dowdell around, but we still need to make a trade before the deadline if we have any shot at making a run in the playoffs this year.

  • 5 shazam // Feb 6, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    youre right jed …the suns have made me bi-polar this year…i really expected and we really needed more joy from dragic and lopez this year.

  • 6 Rich Anthony, (KJL) // Feb 6, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    People need to understand Dragon’s situation.

    First, he has had no stable bench to work with and he gets no time running the show with the starters.

    Second, Dragic is a starter. Meaning, he needs and wants to run the show and, until 2-time is gone he cannot develop the way other young guns have.

    You can already sense an air of invulnerability in regards to Dragon. I think he is the guy that won’t be sent away like Nash was.

    Now, if ZD can relax a bit and develop, perhaps the guard situation will be fixed moving forward.

  • 7 Chad // Feb 6, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    The only reason he’s still on the team is because Sports Illustrated wrote something about him, for some reason.

  • 8 Willi from Germany // Feb 7, 2011 at 3:24 am

    I was rooting for this guy! Have you seen the Milwaukee game? He recorded no assists, but if his teammates would have made the shots he served them he would have had 5. There were some delicious dimes from him!
    I’m really happy for him.

  • 9 Rich Anthony, (KJL) // Feb 7, 2011 at 5:10 am

    You know what? I don’t even care than he can serve up some sweet dimes, (because he can).

    His hands on defense are lightning quick and he smothers.

    Hmm.. You know, I might not mind a ZD / Dragon tandem when JMZ is playing the 3 or running with the starters.

  • 10 Shaqita // Feb 7, 2011 at 6:00 am

    Dragon feeds himself from aggressive defense. All passive schemes don’t utilize his abilities and make him overthink, sleepwalk.

  • 11 Freddy // Feb 7, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Nothing wrong with the Brotha running the point. I am glad they signed him I see a lot of potential there.

  • 12 Zak // Feb 7, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    ZD’s got confidence, determination and a great work ethic. He’ll never be an All Star (and I’d love nothing more than him proving me wrong on that point one day) but I think he’s a very good addition to the team.

  • 13 max // Feb 17, 2011 at 9:33 am

    since i know him in person, i have to say that he deserves it.

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