Zabian Dowdell signs with Suns for rest of season

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.

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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.

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