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.
Taking all my teammates out to dinner in my hometown of San Diego on the Suns org!!!!!! Man I love this Game lol
— Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) October 5, 2012
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.
— Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) October 3, 2012
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.