What To Expect From Jared Dudley in D.C. | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

What To Expect From Jared Dudley in D.C.

Updated: July 6, 2015

[via Jared Dudley’s Instagram account]

Yeah, I like Jared Dudley, and Gary Neal. Because John Wall hasn’t often been surrounded by shooters in D.C.

The result: The Wizards have attempted fewer than 1,500 3-pointers in all but one season over the last five years, in the Optimus Dime Era.

That season was 2013-14, the team’s first playoff cameo in forever. Those Wizards shot 20.8 3-pointers per game, still below league average, but recorded more than 1,700 attempts total. Wall, Bradley Beal, Martell Webster, and Trevor Ariza each made more than 100.

In Wall’s five-year career as a Washington Wizard, however, the team has attempted 3s at a below-league average 17.3 per game. That late ‘90s 3-ball rate is explained by curious roster construction and what appears to be, till recently, a lack of attention to the long ball and its place in the modern NBA by Washington’s front office.

[Via ESPN.com]

NBA 3-point attempts per game, per season, since the introduction of the long ball in 1979-80. [via ESPN.com]

On Friday, the Wizards agreed to sign triggerman Neal (1) for one year and the bi-annual exception of $2.1 million, and the team also agreed to acquire Dudley from the Milwaukee Bucks for a future second round pick and a trade exception that the Wizards received when they sent Andre Miller to the Kings in exchange for Ramon Sessions.

I like Dudley and Neal, and you should, too.

If Paul Pierce was the championship-caliber, shit-talking veteran who happened to be able to shoot 3s, his replacements in Friday’s two transactions can be billed as severely-needed long distance threats who can do other things.

Dudley, who has one season and $4.25 million left on his contract, is a proven shooter. His career average from the land of honey, love, and treys is 39.6 percent, a percentage outshined last season by only one Wizard (2): Bradley Beal (40.6%). But Dudley’s not exclusively a shooter (which would be good enough). See, despite his feet-to-the-floor game, Dudley has figured out how to play smart. He has that much sought-after Basketball IQ and appreciates advanced statistics: Once, after a stat-stuffed game, Dudley asked John Hollinger, then a stathead supreme and now vice president of basketball operations in Memphis, to calculate his PER. He also knows how to operate in transition, having been schooled in perimeter production by Alvin Gentry as a Phoenix Sun, which is how any team led by John Wall thrives.

Count it: In the halfcourt, the floor spacing offered by Dudley, even at a stocky 6-foot-7, serving as a stretchy 4-man à la Draymond Green in Golden State (neither player has much of a post game), will create wider lanes for John Wall the Scorer. Excluding transition attempts, Wall shot just a league average 50.5 percent at the rim in half-court situations. Stephen Curry, to compare, shot 58 percent in the same situations, ranking in the 82nd percentile. Wall, with his strong ability to use both hands to finish at the rim (left hand is his preference), will improve on those numbers this next season.

Jared Dudley from the field in 2014-15

[via NBA.com/stats]

[via NBA.com/stats]

A true bonus: Dudley can guard three positions, even with a wingspan that’s limited to Vitruvian proportions, and did so with great effectiveness as a Milwaukee Buck, who, by the 2014-15 regular season’s end, posted the second best team Defensive Rating in the NBA (99.3, second to the Warriors). He has quick enough feet to switch away from the hoop and even faster hands—Chuck Norris is afraid of them.

Still, as a limited athlete otherwise, Dudley allowed opponents in 2014-15 to shoot 2.9 percent better from the floor than average (3). He did, however, lock it down around the rim, forcing opponents to shoot 1.8 percent worse inside six feet.

This eight-year pro has his ego in check and “prefers” coming off the bench, something he confessed to the TrueHoop Network’s Jeremy Schmidt last season. And he cherished his role as a leader in the locker room: he was always in the ear of Milwaukee’s young bucks, something Wiz Kids like Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, and Kelly Oubre may need to get used to. It’ll be good for their development.

Even Dudley’s court-time contributions seem to be 10 percent anticipation, 10 percent perspiration, and 80 percent communication. X’s and O’s guy Brett Koremenos broke it down on Grantland:

“Dudley is like an NFL linebacker, calling out pick-and-roll coverages and rotating into help positions to stop opponents who have gotten past the initial line of defense. When guarding the likes of [Joe] Johnson and [Bogdan] Bogdanvoic, Dudley’s role is more akin to that of a cornerback, responding to his teammates’ calls while navigating screens and doing his best to win individual battles on the perimeter.”

Perhaps the best reason to like the pick-up is because the Wizards surrendered an “extremely protected” second-round pick—meaning, they might not be giving up anything at all for a one-year rental of Dudley’s services. The Wizards still need to figure out the Nene-off-the-bench/interior defensive depth conundrum (they are said to be pursuing David West and/or attempting to trade Nene to a team, such as the Clippers, now desperate for size). But, in committing to each Dudley and Neal (a career 38.1% shooter from 3) for one season, Washington, contingent on other moves, might have made themselves a better, deeper team, even in Paul Pierce’s departure, while still keep precious flexibility for the summer of 2016.

Actually, the best reason to like these transactions is shooters. The Wizards are finally valuing the need for shooters, which suggests a big 2015-16 season for the team and their prized career-year maker, John Wall.

  1. More on him in another post.
  2. Min. 35 attempts.
  3. According to NBA.com/stats. Related: Draymond Green forced opponents to shoot 6.3% worse from the field overall.
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John Converse Townsend
Reporter / Writer / Co-Editor at TAI
John has been part of the editorial team at TAI since 2010. He likes: pocket passes, chase-down blocks, 3-pointers. He dislikes: typos, turnovers, midrange jump shots.