Season Rewind: Jared Dudley’s impact

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 6: Jared Dudley /

With the attention of Suns fans keenly focused on the hunt for a coach, the upcoming draft, and offseason moves and acquisitions, it’s important to reflect on some of the good parts of last season. Jared Dudley, one of only two real veterans on the team, is one of them.

I didn’t fully realize how much Jared Dudley brought to this young Suns team until I started paying attention to the little things. Sometimes you have to go beyond the numbers to find the true value of a player to an organization.

There are three qualities that Jared displays in a way that is almost effortless: knowledge, transparency, and selflessness.

Jared was one of only two players over the age of 30 on this Suns roster. He’s been around the league for 10 years, and has gotten a taste of the playoffs three times. He sees where the Suns are going, and seems to know how to get there.

Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns /

Phoenix Suns

Jared is one of those players that I’ve really started to listen to this past season. Any comment he has on any happening within the team or the league, I make sure to make a note of. He knows this sport inside and out, and that’s a main reason why many Suns fans see he has a future as a coach or analyst when he does decide to call it a career.

He knows the game, he knows the grind, and he knows how to handle the media.

There’s just no secrets with Dudley. You have a question about something that happened during the game, he has the answer. The Suns have an awful game, he holds himself accountable. He doesn’t shy away from any questions or any situations; you can just take a look at his Twitter feed.

It’s the offseason for the Suns, but Jared is still active. He’s still having dialogues with fans about the playoffs, and reacting to breaking news. In this age of social media, it’s so important for athletes to interact with their fans, and Jared is one of the most accessible players in the NBA.

And during the season, you’ll find the same thing from Jared. It was after the game with the Jazz on March 15th that I really realized just how transparent he is.

Both he and Marquese Chriss were ejected during that game, for an altercation following Quese’s missed dunk. A lot of NBA fans in general thought Jared’s actions toward Ricky Rubio were uncalled for, but he took to Twitter to explain himself.

He provides fans with the opportunity to pick his brain. In one simple Tweet, he allowed everyone to see how he saw the situation. It’s so important to understand the athlete’s mindset, and Jared provides that insight.

Ultimately, he was defending his teammate, which is something he does rather often, both on and off the court.

His ejection during that game with the Jazz is just one example of that. Jared has been ejected multiple times in the last two seasons because he was trying to defend his teammates. The Jazz try to take advantage and push their offense while Quese is on the floor, he fouls. Set a hard pick on Ulis, he takes action. “Questionable” foul call on Josh Jackson, he yells from the bench.

Being ejected isn’t necessarily a bad thing. These all happened in the later parts of the season, when it may have been easy for these guys to lose heart. Jared Dudley certainly didn’t lose heart. He would literally fight for these guys, which does wonders for team chemistry. If one of the vets has your back, I bet it’s not hard for the other guys to rally around, too.

But those are just some examples of what Jared has done for his teammates during the game. He had a major “news making” situation that happened off the court, too.

I think everyone knows what I’m referencing. It was after a game with the Knicks at the end of January, a game Devin Booker was ejected during. Enes Kanter caused Devin to get his second technical, and then brought their exchange to Twitter. But there was no need for Devin to clap back, because Dudley had his back.

Jared Dudley makes his selflessness and willingness to step-up for his teammates so well-known. He doesn’t get enough credit for it.

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There’s one more scenario that I want to mention which Jared showed just how great of a teammate he is. That came when Isaiah Canaan sustained his awful injury. It was something the broadcasters had pointed out, that maybe I wouldn’t have given another thought, but it was meaningful. When Isaiah sat on the floor waiting to be helped off the court, and all the other guys understandably sat or stood in shock with their hands over their faces, Dudley went over to him.

The other guys would all eventually go over to Isaiah, but Jared was the first to do it. Thinking of that moment still gets me, because it’s just such a meaningful gesture.

So while everyone is so focused on the young Suns and what the offseason will bring, let’s not forget about the veteran players. They have more of an impact than most realize, and we can’t take it for granted.