Brooklyn Nets: Should the Team Re-sign Jared Dudley?
At the start of this season, nobody predicted the Brooklyn Nets to go over .500, let alone make the playoffs. However, the Nets were able to shock many doubters and what they lacked in superstar talent, they made up for in scrappy play and excellent teamwork. An important aspect for every team is veteran leadership. And although an otherwise young Nets squad had a handful of veterans, none were more important to the team dynamic than Jared Dudley. That being said, it would be very wise for the Nets to bring him back for another year.
Coming into this season Jared Dudley had been a journeyman in the league. Drafted back in 2007 by the then Charlotte Bobcats, Dudley has played for 6 teams including the Nets. He spent the majority of his career in Phoenix and averaged about 8 points per game throughout his career. Brooklyn traded for Dudley last offseason along with a 2021 2nd round pick. In return, the Nets sent the Suns Darrell Arthur who they had acquired as part of the Kenneth Faried trade. The thought process on the Dudley trade was that the pick was the most important piece in the trade. However, it turns out that Jared had a much bigger impact on the team than expected.
The thought among many regarding Dudley was that he would be more of a locker room guy. As previously stated the Nets are a young team. In fact, they were one of the youngest in the league this season with 7 players younger than 24. Dudley ended up being a big part of the rotation this year and was key to the on-court success for the Nets. Now Jared didn’t affect the game much in the box score as he only averaged 4.9 ppg and 2.6 rbg. But he did affect the flow of the game for the team.
Veterans are not only good at keeping the composer in the locker room but also keeping the composer of the team on the court as well. Especially a young team at that. When Dudley was on the court you could see the team played with better rhythm. If Brooklyn was in a funk on the court or the other team was making a run, the Nets would insert Dudley into the game. The knowledge to make the right pass or make sure the team was in the right defensive sets. Also, someone who could talk to the refs for the young players. Especially, when he saw them get too hot over a call. Dudley did all the things that we can’t measure or count in the box score. However, they went a long way in the win/loss column.
A household name to Nets fans, if you asked the average NBA fan what team Dudley played on they would have no clue. That all changed come playoff time. The Nets found themselves as the 6th seed entering the playoffs going up against the 3-seed Philadelphia 76ers. During game 2 of the series, Joel Embiid hit Jarrett Allen with an elbow in the face which the Nets took exception too. This is where Dudley hit the public spotlight. During an interview before game 3, Dudley made some comments about Ben Simmons. He said he was great in transition but average in the half-court. Of course, the media ran with it and made the narrative that Dudley was calling Simmons an average player. Thus began the Dudley vs Philly rivalry.
Tensions got even more heated when during game 4 Embiid committed a hard foul on Allen. Dudley, taking exception to it, went and shoved Embiid, standing up for his young teammate. This resulted in a shoving match between the 2 teams with Dudley and Jimmy Butler eventually getting ejected. Although the Nets would lose that game and eventually lose the series, it showed that Dudley embodied the spirit of Brooklyn Grit and was a true team leader. Someone who would stick up for his teammates when an opponent tried to punk them.
NETS-SIXERS FIGHT NIGHT
JARED DUDLEY WANTS ALL SMOKE pic.twitter.com/5UKbulxNVL
— Chris Montano (@gswchris) April 20, 2019
Now Jared Dudley is an unrestricted free agent this offseason. The Nets will be one of the teams in the hunt for free agents such as KD and Kawhi Leonard. With no disrespect to Dudley but he will not be a priority early on this offseason. However, once the dust settles and the A-list superstars find their new homes, the Nets should definitely consider resigning Dudley to the veteran’s minimum. The Nets are building a winning culture in Brooklyn and Jared was a big part of that this season. Plus there’s no doubt Dudley wouldn’t want another crack at Philadelphia next year in the playoffs.
Do you think the Brooklyn Nets should re-sign Jared Dudley? Leave a comment below.
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