Phoenix Suns: Jared Dudley Becoming An Important All-Around Player

Karthik TadisinaSenior Writer IJanuary 31, 2012

Jared Dudley Learning From the Best.
Jared Dudley Learning From the Best.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

One underrated player in the Western Conference that has been playing better basketball since late last season is Jared Dudley of the Phoenix Suns.

Dudley played college basketball at Boston College for four years where he became known for his all-around skills, including being a leader and a true professional.

After being drafted towards the bottom of the first-round in 2007 by the Charlotte Bobcats, Dudley the ACC Player of the Year in 2007, was able to find his way into the regular rotation shortly after training camp. It was due to his hard work during training camp and his understanding of the game that put him above others in then Head Coach Larry Brown’s mind.

However, the Bobcats decided to trade the rookie forward a little after a year and 20 games into the 2008-09 NBA season—despite averaging a modest 5.7 points in his rookie year and 5.4 points in those games as a Bobcat. Dudley was traded to the Suns along with Jason Richardson in exchange for Boris Diaw, Raja Bell and Sean Singletary.

Dudley started to become a contributor in Phoenix during the 2009-10 NBA season where he averaged 8.2 points per game. He was able to make consistent three-point shots during the playoffs and since then he has seen his NBA career take off with the Suns.

Dudley has also become known for his all-around game and willingness to do whatever it takes to help the team have a better chance at winning the basketball game. This sort of unselfishness is truly hard to find in professional basketball these days—and it's not appreciated enough. More of these types of players are needed.

Whether it means handling the ball on the offensive end, shooting from long distance and defending the other team’s best player—Dudley is the man for the job. Having veterans Grant Hill and Steve Nash in Phoenix has probably helped Dudley observe how to be a better leader. Dudley has been also rewarded by Phoenix with a five-year contract extension worth $22.5 million to stay with the team for the long-term.