Dispatch From Vegas: Jared Dudley Offers Post-Mortem on Underwhelming Season | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Dispatch From Vegas: Jared Dudley Offers Post-Mortem on Underwhelming Season

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Updated: July 11, 2016
(Photo - Defpen.com)

(Photo: Defpen.com)

Jared Dudley only spent one season with the Washington Wizards but he quickly established himself as the most open, accessible and analytical interview on the team. Dudley, who is now a member of the Phoenix Suns after signing a three-year, $30 million dollar contract, is in Las Vegas to watch his new teammates and he graciously agreed to spend some time dissecting what went wrong in Washington.

You said several times that the players were not always on the same page during the season and were not able to step up when they needed to make a playoff push. Coming to a team that made the second round two years in a row, how surprised were you to step in to the team and see that’s where they were?

A lot of it for us was injuries and not being able to get a flow. That was a huge thing. You think about it, we were 41-41 and Bradley Beal missed over 20 games. Any time the second best player on your team does it’s a struggle. And then for us it was rhythm and flow. We would win five, lose five. Win two, lose two. So inconsistency of buying in and us playing the type of basketball you had to. We weren’t consistent enough. I don’t think they got hit with the injury bug in years past and, as for the playoffs, you got to be a little lucky in this league to be healthy at that time and at the same time we had a chance though.

Is that something a new coach can fix? How much is on the players and how much is on the coach?

In basketball it’s on everybody. Coaching, front office, players, everyone has a part of it. Any time you bring a new regime in that can jolt a team. Coach Wittman did a good job for us. He took the team to the playoffs. For us it was the inconsistency. They’ll have a new team there. Kieff [Markieff Morris] coming over, we were trying to figure him out early on in the first 20 games doing a mid-season trade so I think they will be more comfortable at the start of the new year.

Did having nine players on expiring deals have any effect on the team chemistry?

Nah, I did not think so, because I was like that [an expiring contract]. Temple, you had a lot of team guys so I didn’t think that. At the same time, we had guys playing more minutes than they expected early on. Temple started I think 25 games at one point. Myself coming in playing earlier than I thought coming off back injury. So overall I don’t think expiring had a big deal. We lost a lot of bad games early on that you can’t get back—Lakers at home—certain games that you got to be able to win. We didn’t play well at home, basically.

dudley otto

(Photo – Getty Images – Mike McGinnis)

The Wizards are relying on Kelly Oubre and Otto Porter on the wing. They didn’t sign anyone else in free agency. Do you think those two guys are ready to step up and be the two main options?

Oh, definitely. Otto had a great second half of the year. I expect Otto to come in and have the best year of his career. I think the biggest thing for him is to take a step defensively. Kelly showed when he could play he’s as good as any rookie at that 3 spot. I think for him it’s just a mental game. He has to just keep working on his stuff. He has all the tools and he has the will, he wants to, so now mentally can he lock in and let the game slow down.

Do you think John Wall and Bradley Beal are ready to step up and lead the team?

For sure. I think they now know they need each other. They both complement each other well. They both have to stay healthy. Obviously, John has done his surgeries, and Brad, his health is a key for them. And I think defensively when those guys play at a high level defensively, offense always comes easy to those guys.

Did you consider coming back? I don’t think there was an offer because you took the Phoenix deal but did you think you were coming back when the season ended?

Yeah, I definitely did. It is a great city. Great organization. I love Ernie [Grunfeld] and Tommy [Sheppard]. Trainers helped me out. I’ve been on five or six different teams. Training staff was really good. I was surprised that Eric Waters got left off. I would have come back. They had other options early on and by that time I was off the board real fast. Maybe if I wasn’t they would have offered something, but I think we both were a good marriage for what it was that one year coming in. They needed me and I needed them.

Did they reach out to you in the beginning of free agency?

Yes.

Did they let you know they wanted to make an offer and ask if you could hold off for a little?

Well, that’s just my agent talking to them. They did call me first night—“Hey Jared, you know how this free agency works.” They are in a win-now mode and they are looking for a big star like Al Horford, Kevin Durant, as they should, so I understood that.

Were you surprised Horford was deciding between Boston and Washington?

No, I wasn’t because Washington is ready and he would fit in perfectly. I think to him it was about the financial and fit. Boston, the way they play fits him perfect and Atlanta he’s had success there.

Dudley is all smiles returning to Phoenix.

Dudley is all smiles returning to Phoenix.

Adam Rubin on EmailAdam Rubin on Twitter
Adam Rubin
Reporter / Writer at TAI
Adam grew up in the D.C. area and has been a Washington Bullets fan for over 25 years. He will not refer to the franchise as anything other than the Bullets unless required to do so by Truth About It editorial standards. Adam spent many nights at the Capital Centre in the ‘90s where he witnessed such things as Michael Jordan’s “LaBradford Smith game,” the inexcusable under-usage of Gheorghe Muresan’s unstoppable post moves, and the basketball stylings of Ledell Eackles.