Editor’s Note: For the second year in a row, the Silver Screen and Roll staff is counting down the most interesting Lakers heading into next season. We will be going through all 20 training camp spots before the season begins, and today we continue with the third player in our three-way tie for No. 11, Jared Dudley.
With big names like Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins joining LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers, the signing of Jared Dudley hasn’t been really focused on by anyone other than Royce White.
To some degree that’s understandable. While Dudley played a huge veteran role for the Brooklyn Nets last season and really got everyone’s attention in the playoffs, he was a veteran’s minimum signing. Those almost always go under the radar, especially in a summer a team pulls of a trade for a star.
Still, during Brooklyn’s season, Dudley not only fired up his own teammates with his enthusiasm on the court, but also the thousands of fans in attendance. He looks set to do the same in L.A.
I remember sitting at home watching the Brooklyn Nets vs Philadelphia 76ers playoff match-up, and seeing how physical Dudley was being with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. I thought to myself how every championship team needs a player like that on their roster.
Well, ladies and gentleman... We got him.
Dudley is already coming into next season with the right mindset. He told Adrian Wojnarowski on “The Woj Pod” that he wants to ease the pressure on LeBron, help by being a coach on the floor, work with Kyle Kuzma, and do whatever else the team needs from him. Dudley understands his role and doesn’t try to deviate from it.
(Note: This video was completed before DeMarcus Cousins’ injury, so the quick mention of him is just a result of that)
The three key things the Lakers will need from Dudley next season is for him to knock down his open threes, play defense, and be a great locker room presence. Anything on top of that — such as his drives to the basket that I highlighted in the video — is just icing on the cake.
As far as his 3-point shooting goes, Dudley shot 37.8% on 1.5 attempts per game from three last season on wide-open attempts (shots where the defender was six-plus feet from him). He’s going to get a lot more open looks from three this season with guys like LeBron James and Anthony Davis demanding double teams, and that number offers reason for optimism he can make defenses pay.
I have a strong feeling Dudley is going to the most raucous cheers in Staples Center after the crowd sees how much enthusiasm he plays with every night. I mean, he’s already become a fan-favorite just based of off his twitter account alone, and those are just more reasons to rank him among the most interesting Lakers this year.
The countdown so far...
11. (tie) Jared Dudley