Suns’ Dudley talks Bledsoe trade, minutes and development of Jackson
Phoenix Suns forward Jared Dudley said what Eric Bledsoe does in the near future will define the way people think of him.
In the wake of Tuesday’s trade of Bledsoe to the Milwaukee Bucks, the 32-year-old Dudley remembered talking to another disgruntled teammate two years ago.
“I think it is all about the way you handle things,” Dudley told Bickley & Marotta on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “I told Markieff Morris that when he got traded to the Wizards and how going forward, your next four or five years are going to dictate your reputation, and the same thing for Bledsoe. You can’t go there, in Milwaukee, and do the same thing. ‘Cause now, you have the red flag on you, it is going to be who you are.”
Despite not being a fan of Bledsoe’s actions leading up to the trade, Dudley had plenty of praise for his former teammate.
“You always want to be known as a constant professional — and he is a constant professional,” Dudley said. “Since he has been here, everything Phoenix has asked him, for the most part he’s done. He’s tried to come out of a shell, being a leader. He was a great teammate inside the locker room.”
Ultimately, Dudley said he is not sad but thinks it is a learning experience for Bledsoe and the organization. He added the players and him knew Bledsoe was unhappy but understood why.
“Once the organization went with going to the youth movement, he just wanted to win,” Dudley said. “He’s never made the playoffs in his career.”
In spite of how Bledsoe made himself look to the fans, Dudley said he was a great teammate and wished him luck in Milwaukee.
“He was definitely not a headache,” Dudley said. “He was a team player, looked out for guys, took guys to dinners, played hard. I just think overall, his mind was somewhere else.”
The Suns have committed to building around a core of exciting, young players. As a result, Dudley does not have a consistent role in the rotation.
He has only appeared in three games this season but played for 21 minutes in the Suns’ 98-92 loss to the Brooklyn Nets. Dudley contributed six points, five rebounds, a blocked shot and an assist.
“I thought that the way I played in San Antonio helped me get these minutes with the ball movement, the talking on defense,” Dudley said. “Sometimes you have to show coaches that you’re capable of playing. For me to get those 20 minutes, to be a positive for the team, it is good to see.”
On Josh Jackson’s development
Dudley has been on rebuilding teams before. Coming off the bench and being expected to teach younger guys is nothing new for him.
Instead of complaining about playing time, Dudley appears to know his role and understands it takes time to develop Josh Jackson and others, but said young players also have to earn it.
“For someone like Josh Jackson, don’t be discouraged, development, watching film, getting up shots and on film, seeing your mistakes,” Dudley said. “We don’t want to take away his aggressiveness because that is one of his huge assets, but we have to figure out a way to make it a positive.”
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