Arash Markazi: Jared Dudley relishes being a contender again

USA TODAY Sports

ESPN's Arash Markazi has a nice article on Jared Dudley and he is relishing being on the Clippers.

Per Arash's article:

Jared Dudley and Steve Nash were teammates with the Phoenix Suns for four seasons before Nash was traded to the Lakers last summer.

This summer, Dudley joined Nash in Los Angeles when he was traded to the rival Clippers.

On Sunday, the old friends were teammates once again during Steve Nash Foundation's Showdown L.A., a charity soccer event.

"As many assists as he's given me," Dudley said. "The least I can do is give him an assist out here."

Dudley went from playing with Nash in Phoenix to now playing with Chris Paul in Los Angeles and he said the opportunity to once again connect with an elite point guard is what excited him about the opportunity to come to Los Angeles.

"That was the biggest thing," Dudley said. "If you had one point guard to pick to play with right now it's him. He's in his prime. He's the best point guard in the league right now. It's a dream come true. It makes you want to become better. I'm working even extra hard this offseason knowing the chemistry coming off curls and three-point shots will be key to help the team."

Dudley hasn't played with Paul yet but can already see the similarities between being teammates of both Paul and Nash in the prime of their careers.

"These two point guards love to have the ball in their hands," Dudley said. "They have the ball in their hands more than the average point guard. They like to dribble and create for other people. What Steve Nash and Chris Paul do is they kind of hide your weaknesses. They have the ball and they're going to give it to you in a position where you're going to score or have an advantage offensively. I played with one before and now I get to play with the other one so I'm a lucky guy."

Dudley scored a goal Sunday as Team Nash beat a team captained by Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Robbie Rogers. After the goal, Dudley took of his soccer jersey to reveal his Clippers No. 9 jersey. Many of the fans in attendance at the Red Shield Community Center in Downtown Los Angeles were Lakers fans so he got booed as Nash laughed at his teammate's antics.

"Dudley is always promoting," Nash said, laughing. "I expect nothing less."

During the offseason, Dudley lives in his home in San Diego where the Clippers used to play and he has already noticed a difference when he's in public and gets approached by Clippers fans.

"There are so many Clippers fans in San Diego," Dudley said. "It's like when you're in high school and you're picking your college and decide to stay at home. I'm basically staying at home with the Clippers and what team is more exciting in L.A.?"

The Clippers may be the most exciting team in L.A. but the most talked about is still the Lakers and Dudley was still trying to figure out why Dwight Howard would turn down a max contract from the Lakers to take less and play for the Houston Rockets.

"For me personally, I would never leave the Lakers," Dudley said. "That franchise might be down now but how long are the Lakers really down? Top free agents want to go there so if it's not Dwight, give it two or three years and someone else big time is going to go there. They have too much history and too many championships."

Dudley grew up a Lakers fan but is now looking forward to being a part of the newfound Lakers-Clippers rivalry that has heated up over the past two seasons.

"When I grew up it was Michael Jordan and Chicago Bulls, the Lakers, the Boston Celtics, those were the teams you loved or hated and me being from San Diego, you loved the Lakers. So getting to play the Lakers four times a year is an honor but now that I'm a Clipper, I have to hate them and I want to beat them."

After missing the playoffs the last three seasons in Phoenix, Dudley said he is glad to be back on a team that will contend for a championship and expects nothing less of the Clippers going into next season.

"I like being on good teams," Dudley said. "When you're on a good team you don't care who is getting paid, you're just worried about what you can do to sacrifice to win. With them losing in the first round, all of them will be hungry. You bring in Doc Rivers, one of the best coaches, so we're all going to buy in; I think it's an exciting time for Clippers fans."

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