While waiting for Kawhi Leonard to make his decision during 2019 NBA free agency, the Los Angeles Lakers signed a couple of veterans on minimum deals.
One of those signings was Jared Dudley, a 12-year veteran known for his ability to stretch the floor and be something of an enforcer.
Dudley spent last season with the Brooklyn Nets where he helped them make the 2019 NBA playoffs for the first time in four seasons. He is known as one of the more respected veterans in the league today and is capable of making an impact on a team even if he doesn’t see the floor much.
Now in his first year with the Lakers, he already has his sights on the young player he hopes to help develop.
“I play on a pretty veteran team. When you play with guys like Rondo and LeBron James, I don’t think you really need too much veteran leadership, but obviously you do at times so for me, my guy would be Kyle Kuzma,” Dudley noted at 2019 Lakers Media Day.
“We play the same position. What can I do off the court to help him get to his full potential? Everyone knows about LeBron and Anthony Davis, but Kyle Kuzma is really the key for us. He’s the one who has the potential that is untapped. Can he become an All-Star player?”
Kuzma himself has spoken about wanting to become an All-Star player this season and Dudley wants to help him achieve that. He spoke about his experience in working with other young players such as D’Angelo Russell, Bradley Beal, and Devin Booker and Dudley has plans on helping Kuzma get to that level as well.
However, Dudley isn’t here to just be a mentor either. He’s ready to contribute on the floor as well whenever his number is called.
“This is a production league,” Dudley added. “I’ve never been a big guy on stats, but I think my job is to space the floor, hit timely threes, and be a defensive communicator out there. When it’s time for me to play, be able to step up and do what I have to”
Dudley has been around this league for a long time and understands his role. He may not play a lot and will likely not see the floor every game, but he knows what to do when he gets on the court and plans on making an impact the way he knows how to help his team win.
“People wanna see production, see you playing well. So sometimes for me, it’s not the points you average… it’s the shot selection, it’s timely hitting shots, it’s defensive rating, it’s defensive plus/minus, and giving my second unit the best opportunity to succeed because we already know what LeBron and Anthony Davis are gonna bring to the table.”