While the Los Angeles Lakers are off to a solid 7-3 start, there have been some bumps along the way. The team added five new players in the offseason and it’s been a process figuring out how to utilize them best. Fortunately for Los Angeles, there’s still a lot of time before the playoffs and the team is filled with strong leadership.
Jared Dudley doesn’t see the floor all that much but he’s been credited as one of the Lakers’ best leaders and made some key plays against the Chicago Bulls on Friday. Dudley entered the game with 1:57 to play in the third quarter and the Lakers up by one point, and left with 6:49 to play in the fourth, with the Lakers up by six points.
Dennis Schroder is one of the newest members of the team and he’s already felt Dudley’s impact as a leader.
“Dudz, he’s one of the best teammates that I’ve ever been around,” Schroder said after Friday’s win. “He’s so vocal to everyone. If he sees something, he’ll come up to anyone in a great way.”
Dudley doesn’t put up many stats and rarely sees the floor in important games but he’s a very important teammate. With so many new faces joining the Lakers this past offseason, it was a good move for the team to bring him back. It’s clear that the new guys have taken a liking to the veteran.
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LeBron James Chimes in on Dudley
The Lakers are a team that is heavy on leadership. They have arguably the best leader in the NBA in LeBron James. That said, it’s important to have leadership all across the roster. LeBron knows this and he’s very grateful to have Dudley around.
“Dudz is one of those guys, no matter what the team needs, literally whatever the team needs, on or off the floor, he’s ready for whatever,” LeBron said. “That’s a diamond in the rough for a championship team.”
LeBron is always asked to do a lot on the court so it’s important to have strong leaders on the bench. Dudley provides that at a high level for the Lakers.
Dudley Describes His Role
Dudley, at age 35, is past his athletic prime and rarely even has the opportunity to make plays. There aren’t a lot of players in the NBA who would want a role that didn’t give them a chance to play a lot of minutes. Due to the fact that he talks a lot of trash, Dudley has been criticized by a lot of fans for the fact that he doesn’t play much.
He recently had a chance to describe why his role is important despite his lack of minutes.
Dudley is the type of player who will drop what he’s doing so that he can watch film with teammates. He’s essentially a coach on the bench. He doesn’t need to score 15 points a game (in fact, he averaged 0.5) because he’s helping the team in a number of ways. In these unique times, it’s very important to have a player like Dudley on the squad.