Jared Dudley wants Suns ‘to get back to that 2010 vibe’
Jared Dudley isn’t from Phoenix.
He didn’t go to college in the area and the Phoenix Suns weren’t even the first NBA team he played for.
But in a piece written by Dudley on the Players’ Tribune, he said returning to the Suns means returning home.
“Man, it still feels like yesterday,” Dudley wrote. “I came off the bench, stepped on the court and I was almost in shock. A standing ovation. For me. A second-year player who had averaged 19 minutes per game on a non playoff team. That love, that embrace — I’ll always remember that feeling.
“It told me that Phoenix was home, and I’ve never forgotten about it since then.”
Dudley played for the Suns in parts of five seasons from 2008-13, where he scored 9.8 points per game and grabbed 3.6 rebounds per game in 356 total contests.
After his first stint with Phoenix, Dudley played for the Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks and Washington Wizards, but never quite saw the same success for any of those teams that he saw for the Suns.
So he returned to the Suns in early July, and signed a three-year, $30 million contract.
In Dudley’s piece, he expressed how great it was playing with Steve Nash, and how he wants the 2016 Suns to be more like one of those teams.
“I want us to get back to that 2010 vibe,” Dudley wrote. “The city was on fire. I mean, it was completely electric. When we played the Spurs in the second round of [the] 2010 playoffs, that was something else. I saw Steve right after game four and he had tears in his eyes. You just knew how much it meant to him, and how much it meant to our city.”
That 2009-10 season was the last time the Suns have made the playoffs.
They made it to the Western Conference Finals after winning 54 regular season games, but weren’t able to capitalize on their home floor in Game 6, and lost to the Los Angeles Lakers.
On that team were some of the Suns’ all-time greats like Nash, Amar’e Stoudemire, Grant Hill and Leandro Barbosa, who also agreed to return to the Suns this season.
“Until then, I hadn’t realized how much my time playing with guys like Steve and Grant had rubbed off on me,” Dudley wrote. “And that’s why I’m anxious to bring back the 2010 atmosphere to Phoenix.
“It was all about mixing professionalism with fun and make no mistake, we had a lot of fun.”