Jared Dudley believes Suns gave some young players ‘keys too early’

Apr 12, 2018, 4:44 PM
Phoenix Suns forward Jared Dudley (3) allows the ball to bounce out of bounds in the first half of ...

Phoenix Suns forward Jared Dudley (3) allows the ball to bounce out of bounds in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

(AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
LISTEN: Jared Dudley, Suns' forward

The Phoenix Suns are a young team. No one will deny that.

They were so young this season that, along with extenuating circumstances like roster balance and injuries, some of the youngest players on the roster were placed in important roles.

Second-year player Dragan Bender played 25.2 minutes per game and 20-year-old Marquese Chriss was at 21.2, for example, despite a track record in their rookie season that suggested they had earned extended minutes.

For certain players, Suns veteran Jared Dudely believes the team needed more of a situation where players like Bender and Chriss really had to earn their minutes.

“They just gave them the keys too early where there’s plenty of time for them to develop, earn it in practice, show in games that hey, this kid is too good not to start and then you give ’em the keys,” he said Thursday on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Burns & Gambo.

“You have to earn it before you give it to them.”

The team’s most recent top draft pick Josh Jackson was actually in a scenario that Dudley mentioned with T.J. Warren signing a long-term extension.

“For T.J. Warren, it made it easier for the organization (to) say ‘hey, you know what, we see him as our future, we just gave him $50 million, (Jackson’s) gotta earn it compared to everybody else,'” he said.

Dudley admitted that he is not the type of player like Warren where his contributions were valuable enough to challenge Bender and Chriss for real playing time, but he believes the point still stands for real positive development.

“You just need something where in the game time, you have to earn it,” he said.

With a potential new head coach coming in for next season and an expected overhaul of some level to the roster, it wouldn’t be surprising to see players like Bender, Chriss and the team’s selections in the upcoming NBA Draft be put in a situation Dudley brings up.

The 11-year pro said that in the rebuild, the Suns have looked to prioritize flexibility and draft picks instead of players who could play that role Dudley sees as valuable, but now that could change.

“Now I hope that after these two years of getting everything that they wanted, I hope that now it’s time,” he said.

Phoenix Suns

Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks heads to the net as Kevin Durant #7 of the Brookly...
Arizona Sports

Empire of the Suns’ NBA preview: Title favs, MVP picks and players to watch

Empire of the Suns podcast co-hosts Kellan Olson and Kevin Zimmerman dive into the new year with this NBA-wide glance.
12 hours ago
Khris Middleton #22 of the Milwaukee Bucks shoots against Mikal Bridges #25 of the Phoenix Suns dur...
Arizona Sports

Here are the extensions signed from the 2018 NBA Draft class

The Phoenix Suns signed two players from the 2018 NBA Draft class to extensions but not center Deandre Ayton.
12 hours ago
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns and Mikal Bridges #25 celebrate defeating the LA Clippers 104...
Arizona Sports

Mikal Bridges, Joe Johnson and others react to Ayton not agreeing on extension

Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges, basketball world comment on Deandre Ayton's contract extension situation.
12 hours ago
Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks to pass around Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Su...
Kellan Olson

Suns add unnecessary unease with no Deandre Ayton extension

It would appear the Suns are attempting to nickel and dime with their No. 1 overall pick from 2018, and that could backfire.
1 day ago
Landry Shamet #14 of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA preseason game at Footprint Center on October ...
Arizona Sports

Suns extend G Landry Shamet on 4-year, $43 million deal

Landry Shamet has cemented himself as one of the league's best shooters, posting a three-point percentage of 39.7% on 5.3 attempts per game.
1 day ago
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns reacts in the first half of game five of the NBA Finals at Fo...
Arizona Sports

Report: Deandre Ayton extension talks with Suns end before deadline

Deandre Ayton and the Suns have ended extension talks with three hours left before the deadline, reports Adrian Wojnarowski.
1 day ago
Jared Dudley believes Suns gave some young players ‘keys too early’