As the Los Angeles Lakers were revamping their roster during the offseason, most considered it a foregone conclusion that Jared Dudley would be re-signed. Dudley half-heartedly had said he would deliver a contract to the front door of Lakers vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka if need be.
Sure enough, the veteran was brought back on another one-year deal. Dudley’s minutes have primarily come late in games yet again, but Lakers head coach Frank Vogel turned to him in the third quarter to help light a spark against the Chicago Bulls.
Dudley was a +5 in his seven minutes on the floor as the team extended their lead. The performance further embodied what the Lakers love about Dudley’s willingness to do whatever is asked of him.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to play with some true professionals when it comes to that role and guys that are stars in their role. Dudz is another one of those guys,” LeBron James said.
“Whatever the team needs — I mean literally, whatever the team needs — he is ready for whatever, both on and off the floor. That is a diamond in the rough to have for a championship-aspiring ballclub. Dudz has been that for us the last two years.”
Wesley Matthews added: “He’s always ready. Dudz is one of those guys who is ready for whatever moment. He energizes on the bench, when his name is called he’s ready, he’s going to be in the right spot. Dudz is a great player.”
When the Lakers first signed Dudley, the move was met with some anger and dissatisfaction among fans, but he has proven to be a valuable member of the roster even when not seeing the floor too often.
Dudley understands his role and knows that he is unlikely to play big minutes, but gives his all in practice and helps to mentor young players.
Unfortunately, he has yet to play since that Bulls game due to right calf soreness.
Dudley ‘happy but not satisfied’ with Kyle Kuzma’s growth
One of Dudley’s biggest projects last season was to assist Kyle Kuzma. While Dudley does believe the young forward has improved, he noted there is still plenty room to grow.
“I’m happy but I’m not satisfied. He can be a lot better,” Dudley recently said. “The reason I was impressed, young guys get discouraged with less minutes and shot attempts. He wasn’t. He wanted to win a championship.
“I’m happy with him, you’re a champion. But now, let’s go make yourself a 17-, 18-point scorer, efficient, a better defensive player and let’s lean on you more in playoff time.”
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