Before Wednesday night, Jared Dudley had hardly played for the Los Angeles Lakers. Minutes have been sporadic and situations have been all over the place. So when he subbed in early in the team’s win in Orlando against the Magic and picked up the slack with Kyle Kuzma out, Frank Vogel and Anthony Davis noticed.
Following the win, Vogel praised the entire bench, but especially noted Dudley’s performance (via Spectrum SportsNet):
“Dudz in particular. Credit him for staying ready. He doesn’t play a lot but knows his role. Knows that he’s not going to play on a night-to-night basis, but when he’s needed he’s going to come in and produce. A plus-16 for the game, hit three threes, stood up for some teammates, got himself run out of here (laughs). He was critical to the win.”
On a night when the Lakers scored only 96 points, Dudley’s 9 points were definitely needed. And given the team’s struggles from deep (Danny Green went 0-6 by himself), the fact that all of Dudley’s points came from behind the line opened up the court.
Davis noticed the little things Dudley did out there as well:
“Dudz played well. Hit some threes. Did some good things moving the basketball on the offensive end… He’s a vet, he always stays ready and he knows how to play the game of basketball.”
Those little things don’t show up in the box score in the traditional sense, but Dudley finished with a game-high +16 on the night. And while single-game plus-minus can be a flawed way to statistically analyze a player, this number matched the eye test.
When asked about his performance, Dudley said this is the kind of thing he signed up for:
“I knew eventually my number would get called. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to come here: I knew I wouldn’t have to play every day. I knew we had AD and Kuzma, so I knew I might play 40 or 50 games. But as you know it’s a long season, people miss games.”
It’s almost fitting that Dudley would note the length of the season on a night where the Lakers basically did just enough to win the game in altogether unimpressive fashion. Over the course of the marathon that is an NBA season, you have nights like those. On this one, it’s a good thing Dudley was ready.