Jared Dudley on Blessings Disguised as Clipper Departures | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Jared Dudley on Blessings Disguised as Clipper Departures

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Updated: December 29, 2015

Media Day, Washington Wizards, Truth About It, 2015, NBA, Verizon Center, Adam McGinnis, Jared Dudley

In August 2014, Los Angeles Clippers head coach and general manager Doc Rivers traded Jared Dudley and a 2017 first round draft pick (top 14 protected) to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Carlos Delfino, Miroslav Raduljica, and a second round pick. Delfino and Raduljica were subsequently waived. This was just one year after acquiring Dudley from the Phoenix Suns, and J.J. Redick from the Bucks, in a three-team deal in which Rivers sent budding star Eric Bledsoe to Phoenix.

Dudley played hurt for the 2013-14 Clippers, and it didn’t go well (a career-low 8.9 PER). Part of why Rivers then traded Dudley, paying the Bucks with a pick to do so, was to clear Dudley’s $4.25 million salary, one would assume. But all the coach/GM has really done with the space since was acquire his son, Austin Rivers, amongst other ill-fitting parts like Lance Stephenson and Josh Smith (the former saw four minutes of garbage time versus the Wizards on Monday, the latter didn’t play). Rivers netted Paul Pierce this past offseason, however. But since trading Dudley, the Clippers, in each of the last two seasons when getting knocked out of the playoffs, could have used a 3-and-D player just like Dudley.

Dudley has been especially hot this season, leading the NBA in 3-point percentage through a third of the 2015-16.

“Well, I wish he would’ve played that way,” said Rivers when asked if he’d caught himself wishing he could have Dudley back. A hearty round of laughter from Rivers encircled the media scrum before Monday’s affair in D.C. The coach/GM continued, “… he’d still be in LA. So you can go either way. He was injured with us and it just didn’t work out.”

Dudley, after a Wizards blowout loss to the Clippers in which he only saw 13 minutes of action and played both poorly and out of rhythm, had more nuanced, detailed thoughts on his one season with Los Angeles. First, on if playing versus the Clippers meant a little something extra:

“It’s extra because of how it ended. You kind of get tired of talking about it in the sense of that. It was for me a dream team to be able to play for … I’m from San Diego. To go there and have it basically ending with me going in there with a fractured knee cap at the time (it was partially) and having to play through pain, letting them know I couldn’t go. Still being out there and not being able to play to my full ability, I thought it hurt me. But to be honest with you, it was a blessing in disguise, because I got traded to Milwaukee. Who would have told you that getting traded to Milwaukee would have been a blessing in disguise? Got there, basically rededicated myself to getting back to the player I was, got to the playoffs, and now I’m traded here. I think I’ve been playing some of my best basketball now since the Phoenix days, so if I had to do it all over again, I would. I just wish I would have been healthy to contribute more.”

But did Dudley feel that he got a fair shot from Rivers? His answer:

“I didn’t get a fair shot when it came to … for me, I’d never been hurt. So me having to deal with an injury, it was the first time in my career having to deal with that. He knew about that, I let him know about it numerous times. He told me at times he was going to give me some rest to be able to go. Guys were hurt, just like on this team. If I was somewhat banged up now, we have six guys hurt, so what would I do? It was a very similar situation. Matt [Barnes] was hurt, J.J. [Redick] was hurt, there was guys … so I was trying to hold down the fort until guys got back.

“But if I had been playing that well, obviously I would be staying there. But it’s a little bit of my fault. I don’t look at it as his fault anymore because as a player, you know your body. I let them know; I should have stood more firm saying I can’t go. And that’s something I’ve learned, and if there’s one thing that I’ve told players going forward, you know your body. When you get out there you have to be able to perform at a high level because people don’t care if you’re hurt and stuff like that. And sometimes you can play through, I have ankle sprains, but with that injury, I couldn’t even bend my knee at the time.”

Such thoughts from Dudley are nothing new and were conveyed over the summer to Zach Lowe in a podcast affiliated with the former ESPN website Grantland. Dudley also credited the Bucks training staff with helping his knee heal within a couple weeks of him arriving.

So, Doc Rivers essentially traded very coveted assets in Bledsoe and a draft pick for just J.J. Redick. And then the Bucks gave up Dudley to the Wizards for a protected second round draft pick that will likely never be transferred. Dudley on that:

“If you look at Doc, he’s a Hall of Fame coach, I don’t know if he’s a Hall of Fame GM, and that would be going forward. We’ll see. I think Milwaukee loved that in a sense, getting me and a first round pick, and I think Milwaukee did me, because of the way I was there as a player, looked out for me and let me come here. They didn’t have to do that. That’s something Jason Kidd and John Hammond because … if you do an organization right, hopefully they do you right.”

Dudley finished with zero points on 0-for-3 shooting on Monday versus the Clippers and his only other stat-book contribution was a turnover. Only 1:56 of his 13:15 total in court action came in the second half—one of those days. Dudley at times could be seen stretching and trying to get loose on the Wizards’ bench during timeouts. When asked if he was OK, health-wise, afterward:

“It was coach’s decision. Obviously I didn’t have a good rhythm early on, I only took two or three shots. Otto was playing really well in the first half and he went back with him, I think the game got out of control. Obviously moving forward, the more I’m out there the better this team does, but obviously I’ve got to play better. I was nonexistent, their defense dictated that, and moving forward we just got to do a better job adjusting, so I don’t expect to play like that again this year and hopefully the team doesn’t.”

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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle lives in D.C. with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.