Suns’ Jared Dudley reflects on current role with Suns on ‘The Woj Pod’

Sep 19, 2017, 5:25 PM | Updated: Sep 20, 2017, 11:33 am
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)...
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Whether you’ve heard him on ESPN, Fox Sports or 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station, it’s no secret that Phoenix Suns forward Jared Dudley is a great interview.

Combine that with an appearance on an NBA insider’s podcast and you’ve got a must-listen.

Dudley’s talk with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on “The Woj Pod” went down plenty of different paths in the NBA world, from social media, gambling on planes to the role of a veteran.

The forward entering his 11th season was asked by Wojnarowski about how his own personal expectations can impact what he sees said about him on Twitter, and Dudley responded by saying his role is different than most and he can take the heat in his mentions.

Sometimes, your worth as an athlete isn’t about you making shots or your stats. Like, where my contract and me coming back to Phoenix (is at), is to be a mentor. Is to show these young guys the professionalism. Habits. Because in 2-3 years when Phoenix is good — like how it started when I was in Milwaukee when they were the worst team in the league and how I was on Giannis (Antetokounmpo) and Jabari (Parker) and telling them their practice habits and to see them now getting ready to be one of the top teams in the East — It’s the same thing I’m doing here now in Phoenix. So my $30 million, it’s not about Jared averaging 10-11 points – no one cares about that. It’s about, hey, how can I make Devin Booker a better player? How do I get Tyler Ulis and Marquese Chriss mentally ready so in two, three years when it’s their time, that the foundation is already laid in the habits.

Dudley revealed that his experience going to play for the Bucks is when he realized his worth as a veteran player is shooting the ball efficiently and being a mentor for young players.

So for me, to go back to Phoenix, Phoenix had cap space like a lot of other teams that were struggling. But they were young, and they want to play their young talent, so they need a vet that is willing to take a backseat, but still get paid like a starter, which I was at that time, and be willing to mentor and take minutes. There was a year (where) in December, I didn’t play for a month. ‘Jared, we want you to sit down.’ No big deal. I’m going to pop it up, I’m going to help them out, I’m going to help out Dragan Bender, I’m going to help out Marquese Chriss, and when my time comes, I’ll be ready.

Later in the interview, Wojnarowski asked Dudley about the summer of 2016 in which he signed his three-year, $30 million deal with the Suns and if he felt fortunate to be a free agent at that time given how much more money was doled out than this past free agency period.

I got lucky. People know about free agency it’s about timing and luck a little bit. … For me, it was a perfect fit. My relationship with Robert Sarver and the city of Phoenix and what they needed and they had all young people. Teletovic left to go to Milwaukee. I was willing to take the same contract and come home.

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Suns’ Jared Dudley reflects on current role with Suns on ‘The Woj Pod’