Los Angeles Lakers veteran Jared Dudley was one of 12 finalists for the NBA’s eighth annual Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award. Finishing in ninth place, Dudley received nine votes for first place and many more for the second through fifth position.
Beginning in the 2012-13 season, this award — named after Jack Twyman and Maurice Stokes — honors players who were great leaders and teammates for each team on and off the court. Through eight seasons, there has yet to be repeat winner, with Hall of Famers Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki and Vince Carter among the winners in recent years.
After a panel of league executives chose the 12 finalists, 267 NBA players submitted ballots consisting of a first through fifth place finisher. A first-place vote was valued at 10 points, with the next four rankings being valued at seven, five, three and one point, respectively.
The 2019-20 winner of the award was New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday, who received 53 of the 267 first-place votes. In total, Holiday received 1,041 points, which gave him a clear advantage over the 806 points of the second-place finisher, Tobias Harris of the Philadelphia 76ers.
The remainder of the top-five finalists included Milwaukee Bucks’ Kyle Korver, Miami Heat veteran Udonis Haslem, Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers. Dudley received a total of 436 points. Of the 267 players, 99 had Dudley on their final ballot.
Dudley undoubtedly was the glue of the Lakers roster this season, with the entire team crediting him for his professionalism. Dudley also popularized the “star in your role” mantra that has defined the Lakers during their potential championship run.
One of the things that set him apart from the other great Lakers teammates was his help in developing Kyle Kuzma. Upon his arrival, Dudley ensured that he would help Kuzma in any way he could, and is one of the reasons the third-year forward has made strides.
Holiday is a deserving winner, though, as he helped to bring along a Pelicans team that featured a roster almost entirely comprised of under-25 players. With his help, they should be competing for a playoff spot next season.
Dudley champions Kyle Kuzma as Lakers third star
Part of what hindered Kuzma’s development at the beginning of the 2019-20 season was the expectation that he would take pressure off of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. That didn’t completely come to fruition, though in the bubble Dudley still touted Kuzma as such.
“Our third guy is Kyle Kuzma. Now, has Kyle Kuzma been exactly consistent to the point where you have this third guy. I think people have to realize being behind A.D. and ‘Bron being able to move to the 4 sometimes, takes [Kuzma’s] minutes,” Dudley recently said.
“But any time A.D. has missed a game, I guarantee if you look at those numbers, he’s averaging over 20. I think he even scored 30 in that OKC game. So for me, in my eyes, Kyle Kuzma is our third guy.”
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