Happy Birthday to Phoenix Suns favorite Jared Dudley!

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The 12-year pro spent seven of those seasons with the Phoenix Suns.

It’s birthday time again! While the dog days of the NBA season have meandered, we’ve bid good days to everyone from Ty Jerome to Marquese Chriss, from Tariq Owens to Marcus Thornton. However, at the close of this week, we have a Phoenix Suns legend to give our salute to.

For seven seasons, over two stints and 468 games, the 6-6 swingman played bigger than his size, while contributing more than the 8.7 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.4 assists he averaged over his Phoenix years. Dudley was a trusted voice, a person who led by example, and one who’s leadership was versatile.

He was a young vet even in his early years with Phoenix Suns, the same years that would signal the swan song for the Steve Nash era. From 2009 through his departure via trade in 2013, Dudley would only average 9.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.6 assists. However, he would prove to be an invaluable part of the 2010 WCF team, as well as two other Suns squads that hovered around .500. His solid shooting, stout defense (he wasn’t horrible there), and ability to bring the team together were keys to the moderate success the Suns experienced over those years.

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When Dudley returned to the valley in the 2016-2017 season, the team had changed, as had Dudley. He had bulked up and now primarily played the small forward position or the power forward spot in smaller lineups, as opposed to the shooting guard role he previously held in Phoenix.

The Suns for their part had changed as well. No longer were they a team competing for playoff spots; no this team was one in the dregs of the west, plagued by an error-prone front office and youth whose play had stagnated instead of developing. Even so, Dudley would put his hard hat on, hit threes, encourage from the bench, and even become an “enforcer” of sorts on a team that had plenty of fire, but needed to be reined in and led from someone who was also on the floor.

Despite his efforts, Dudley did not get to see the next great Suns team. After two seasons he would go on to lead another young team in Brooklyn, before joining the…..I forget what team he is on now.

(OK, I know where he is. Chance are you do as well and I have the feeling I can’t bring up their name so…we’re just going to move on.)

The bottom line is that Dudley is a player whose impact extended far beyond the stat sheet. He is a beloved Suns fan-favorite and one who is worthy of a Valley of the Suns birthday shoutout. Through this point, I have not been so honored as to wish Jared Dudley a very happy 35th birthday.

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