When talking about the Los Angeles Lakers roster, LeBron James and Anthony Davis are the players who are most often mentioned. However, the team is filled with seasoned veterans who might not boast the same amount of skill but do bring strong leadership ability. Jared Dudley is one of those guys.
Though he plays limited minutes and sometimes doesn’t play at all, Dudley has become one of the team’s best leaders. In fact, Quinn Cook has some strong things to say about Dudley to Lakers insider Mike Trudell:
To be honest with you, our coaches and front office have so much to worry about during the course of a season. Dudley is one of the best teammates that anybody has ever had.
Cook also doesn’t play a lot of minutes but he had a chance to talk about his role on the team:
My thing is just being as low maintenance as possible. Coming to work every day and being ready when called. I know it sounds cliché, but I truly live by that, and for me, it’s an honor to be on the Lakers. It’s an honor to be on this loaded team. If you think about it, I’m the third string point guard, I sit behind LeBron James and Rajon Rondo. I couldn’t dream of nothing like that. Me, ‘Bron and Rondo always talk on the bench. So yeah, I’ve had some great games in the playoffs, I’ve had some 25- and 30-point games in the league. I know I can play. I know what I can do in this league, and everybody on my team knows that, which is great because they have the ultimate confidence in me. But for me, it always comes back around. I learned that the last two years in Golden State, and I was able to perform well at the highest level. So for me it’s just being the best teammate I can be, man, and always being ready. And I live in the gym, and I know that moment will come.
With teams being off for months, there are a lot of unforeseen problems that could arise. It could get to the point where the Lakers need some deep bench players to make a difference. Luckily, they’ve filled the bench with players who have a lot of experience in the regular season and playoffs.
Lakers Are ‘All Into’ Winning
If it wasn’t for LeBron James and the Lakers, there’s a chance the season would’ve gotten canceled altogether. With James getting older, Anthony Davis hitting free agency and the team filled with journeymen, it’s not a given the Lakers will be this good next year. Fortunately, the team is very committed to winning it all:
We really can go one through 15 (on the roster). That’s what makes this team so special. Everybody is all into winning. We have the superstars, we have guys who have won that understand the team concept. We have a team where a guy can go 1 for 8 (shooting) but if the team wins, everybody is happy. Our coaches find ways to build us up and make us feel important, and so do our leaders.
It’s very possible the Lakers will need contributions from every player on the roster at some point. Everybody will need to be ready at all times.
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Cook Talks About New Players
One big thing the Lakers will need to do with the eight regular-season games before the playoffs is to integrate their two newest players. Dion Waiters has been on the team for months but hasn’t played a game yet. JR Smith has been in the league for a very long time but hasn’t played a game in over a year. However, Cook is excited to have them.
We have the talent. We’re going to be prepared. Our coaches and leaders will have us prepared. Now it’s just keying on those habits we have, and I don’t think it will take long. It’ll be quick. We’re all locked in. Our new guys, Swish (JR Smith) and Philly Cheese (Dion Waiters), I’m looking forward to integrating those guys. They’ve played at the highest level and played well … they bring something that we didn’t have as well, and I’m just looking forward to being with my guys.