Not many came out of the 2018-19 Suns season unscathed, but after working his way to Brooklyn and helping build the Nets into a bonafide playoff team out East, Jared Dudley has the benefit of hindsight to help explain what went (and still is going) so wrong in Phoenix.
It started when a fan tweeted out to Dudley asking what the issue is for the Suns, to which Dudley responded, “Playing to many young guys... need at least 5 vets on a team and 3/4 have to play 20 plus min to win in this league.” He clarified that in his mind a vet is anyone with five or more years of playing experience.
That’s certainly the most tried and true way to win a lot in the NBA, but even these Nets don’t fit that bill, with only four players five or more years into their career. Only one, Ed Davis, has been healthy and consistently played heavy minutes for Brooklyn. Another, Allen Crabbe, is in just his fifth season and already was dumped from a playoff team in Portland to save money.
As for how Dudley would fix the Suns, he buys into James Jones’ ideology that the quickest way to see changes is to add those young veteran players alongside the core of Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges.
Would be very smart to do that. The funny thing is Tyson and I both are playing minutes on a playoff team that’s young .. Suns will have to over pay a little bit for those type of FA or trade for a player that has a big contract( Holiday/Conley) But it will be worth it! https://t.co/rBkkHaTiJd— Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) February 23, 2019
History shows that Dudley is right on in this regard. Two summers ago, Philadelphia gave JJ Redick $18 million for one year to help space the floor around Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Before the Warriors dynasty, Golden State gave a nearly 30-year-old Andre Iguodala long, hefty contract and then gave him a raise at age 33 to keep him around. Great teams make financial sacrifices to get where they want to be.
Dudley capped off his retelling of the past two seasons in Phoenix by saying, “I love playing for young teams and helping but they didn’t do it the right way... Milwaukee and Nets are.”
Former Suns continue to embarrass the Suns on social media after they leave, from the Morris brothers and Dudley himself after Ryan McDonough was fired to Dudley today reminding fans of the difference between the Suns and other rebuilding franchises.
Dudley led all Suns with more than 500 minutes played in plus/minus last season. Any fan who goes on Twitter to bag on the veteran should remember that. He’s not a superstar type who can change the game on both ends, but when he played last year he did his job and the team looked better.
And despite his concerns about the direction of the franchise, Dudley believes Phoenix may not have seen the last of him:
When the times comes I’m sure I’ll have some sort of convo with him and other organizations https://t.co/xpetbMSLVM— Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) February 23, 2019
So to recap, Dudley is dismayed with the way things turned out in Phoenix but would still take a job with the Suns to help change that. There is a famous quote twisted from something Gandhi once said — “Be the change you want to see in the world.” At least Dudley seems to want to do something about the problems he saw in Phoenix.