Jared Dudley is the new era Phoenix Suns’ Big Bang


PHOENIX — A overly-simplified version of the Big Bang theory says that the universe began with one event, from one dense point exploding to form the universe we know today. The chicken and egg debate argued that one, the other or neither acted as the starting point to life.

For the Phoenix Suns entering a new era, success will be directed by one event from one point in time. And unlike the chicken and egg philosophical debate, there can’t be any question about where the beginning of success can come from.

Jared Dudley knows both of these things.

The sixth-year guard has taken the leadership role vacated by Steve Nash and Grant Hill, his role with the Suns acting like the Big Bang’s role to the universe. Beginning with the training camp in San Diego, his offseason home, Dudley is handling the responsibility of guiding Phoenix into a new era of Suns basketball. Using the example set forth by Hill will be the key beginnings for the team looking to develop a chemistry and a work ethic from scratch.

It has to start from somewhere.

“To me it’s natural,” Dudley said during Media Day. “I feel like I’ve always been a natural leader. The difference now is, without Grant around, I can’t goof off so much. I can do that.

“G-Hill did everything the right way 100 percent of the time,” Dudley added. “I’m more 80-20, my personality the way I am humor-wise. For me, it’s a different role. On the court, in the weight room, off the court (that’s where) I got to be more a leader with these guys.”

The story of Jared Dudley’s rise from trade throw-in with the Charlotte Bobcats to starting guard has been well-chronicled. So far, the rise has only culminated in Bill Simmons asking Steve Nash last season how he turned Dudley into an NBA starting shooting guard. In research for this very article, one prominent website’s profile of Dudley errored out, putting a Bobcats background and schedule around the shooting guard, a fitting symbolism for how he might be taken for granted outside of Phoenix.

So it’s important not to forget that Dudley has made himself as well.

On the court, Dudley comes into camp a likely starter simply because of his proven abilities that make him Hill’s logical replacement as Phoenix’s main perimeter defender. Nash or no Nash, Dudley remains important because of his ability to stretch the floor, taking advantage of defenses sinking in on Marcin Gortat in the post or Michael Beasley on the wing.

Dudley’s role shouldn’t increase this season as much in his 12.7 point and 4.7 rebound averages from last year so much as it should on defense and in acting as the foundation for his team that Alvin Gentry hopes to build upon.

It all comes back to the 27-year-old’s assumed role of team leader. At training camp, he’s taking his teammates to dinner. He’ll also be at the forefront of emphasizing defense and a toughness developed as a bench hot-shot that was one of the major factors in the 2010 Western Conference Finals run.

In huddles, Dudley will be the vocal player he was when Nash and Hill were the captains, something Dudley said people often overlooked.

“You address me as being a leader (this year),” Dudley said. “I thought last year I was a leader with this team; Steve and Grant weren’t the most vocal people in the huddle. I was talking more than they were.”

Asked at Media Day if he’s done anything to help improve the chemistry on a team of mostly new faces, Gentry laughed.

“I haven’t really done anything,” Gentry finally admitted. “They’ve done a lot of it on their own. They’ve done a lot of stuff together. I think they genuinely like each other, I feel that. That’s a great start.”

The ability to throw chemistry aside as an afterthought doesn’t come as often as you’d think in the NBA. Gentry’s confidence in Jared Dudley likely has much to do with his comfort.

A season full of question marks lies on the road ahead, but the Suns have their chicken and egg dilemma answered, their Big Bang figured out. Now, will that Big Bang develop into a winning basketball team?

Said Dudley: “There were a lot of question marks and a lot has to be answered in the next couple of months.”

Dudley the movie star

Watching Tosh.0 this past week, the movie trailer for “Movie 43″ caught my eye. A dude on the basketball team at the 2:15 point looked a lot like Jared Dudley. Turns out, it is actually Jared Dudley.

Here’s a link to the YouTube trailer, which is not for young ears, by the way. And here’s a still shot of Dudley.

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We unfortunately could not attend Suns training camp this season, but BlogNBAsketball’s Martin Knezevic will be blogging live from the team’s private scrimmage slated for Saturday at noon.

Tags: Jared Dudley

  • Scott

    I’m not at all surprised to find that Nash and Hill were quiet captains, and that Dudley was doing a lot of the talking.

    Speaking of leadership, I think Marshall’s going to be good in that regard. I’m sure he’s got a few things to learn, and he has to spend some time “in the trenches” to get some seasoning, so I don’t look for him to take over an NBA team yet, but the 2nd unit won’t be aimless under him.

  • PennyAnd1

    @Scott

    I agree with you as Marshall being a great leader. Suns need leaders with high IQ and with good attitude. Dudley & Marshall fits that bill. The most important player that also needs to take that leadership role is Dragic. Everything runs through PG, so hopefully his confidence will translate into him becoming one of the good leaders will have this season.

  • PennyAnd1

    I was just reading an article about Brown being the next J-Rich. I laughed at that. Brown can never be the next J-Rich. Brown’s been in the game for too long now to be good but he ain’t improving. His low IQ just keeps him from becoming great and it’s what separates him & J-Rich.

  • Tony

    I don’t mean to be contrary, but how can a non-starting quality player, who also happens to be the most unathletic player on the team, be the leader of the team? Anybody really believe that Dragic, Gortat, or Beasley is really going to listen to and follow Dudley? I don’t see that happening at all.

    The most likely scenario I foresee is that as the Suns losses mount, we’ll likely see some division within the roster about who is the true leader of this team. I expect Gentry to attempt to impose his will on this squad more so than at anytime with the Suns. Whether he will succeed or not will be interesting, especially considering he’s currently a lame-duck coach.

  • shazam

    we all pretty much agree that the suns wont have any kind of a playoff impact and are in a rebuilding phase for a few years…im excited to see how this develops..the busts and those who exceed…st this juncture its a waste of time to macro analyze

  • Scott

    I don’t think the Suns have a lot of players this year that need to be reined in. Everybody’s professional, and they know their roles.

    The closest to needing some reining in might be Beasley and Telfair, and even with them I think they probably want to fit in more than stand out. So I think everyone is looking to come together, and that makes it easy to get by with modest leadership.

  • PennyAnd1

    @Tony

    Dudley is a starter, and he’s earned that leadership & respect because of his high IQ and hard work (hustles & does dirty work to get it done), hence he’s in the NBA even without athleticism because of those assets, and an important assets to be a good leader.

  • Tony

    @Penny,

    don’t get me wrong, I have a ton of respect for Dudley because of the fact he’s so unathletic but that he not only made it to the NBA, but also that he has established himself as a dependable role player. However, I disagree about his basketball IQ. In a sense, he reminds me a little bit of Matt Barne, although no question Dudley’s integrity for the game is much greater, but that Dudley has a habit of making a smart play and following it up with two dumb plays.

    In any event, I’m arguing that Dudley’s lack of skill, as compared to Dragic, Gortat, and even Beasley, will preclude him from establishing himself as the leader of the team. Unlike O’Neal, whom can emerge as a leader because at one time was one of the best pfs in the NBA, Dudley has never been an upper-tier player in the NBA and that is not likely to change. So I just don’t see it likely that the team “nominates” Dudley as their leader.
    But I may be wrong, just have to wait and see.

  • Scott

    There’s different kinds of leadership. It’s not like Dudley is absolute monarch of the game, and what he says goes. It’s not like he’s the disciplinarian. He’s just going to be the guy who keeps people’s heads in the game, that’s all.

  • Scott

    Interesting that Dudley says they recognize that Scola is a high IQ player who can pass and make others better, and now they’re trying to see if Beasley can do the same. It sounds like so far Beasley is holding on to the ball and not passing, which is his MO, because like Brown and Johnson, he’s not a good passer.

  • PennyAnd1

    @Tony

    So your saying Brown is much better suited as a starter than Dudley. Think about it. With Brown in with the starting lineup, the offense won’t be so smooth because Brown would want the ball in his hands alot. It won’t help the team gel because they haven’t even played together long enough yet. The secret to success is chemistry, Nash Hill & Dudley knows that. That’s why it’s important Dudley is in their for his role-playing skills and facilitator. You say Dudley makes dumb plays after one good one? Seriously you need to look at the efficiency % between the two. Dudley makes the team better than with Brown just because Dudley is more of a team player. Brown is better suited in the 2nd unit so that all he has to worry about is score.

    It’s so sad how during the middle of last season, Suns fans were pushing for a Nash trade. Then now, they want Brown in as a starter compared to Dudley. From a high IQ elite professional team, to a low IQ (yell to communicate rookie-like) team. How low did the Phoenix Suns fan go…so sad to see Nash get treated like sh!t in Phoenix.

  • http://n/a Keith

    Tony is not representative of Suns fans at all, Penny. Everything he says is complete trash.

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