Jared Dudley came to the Clippers last summer in the three-team deal that also involved J.J. Redick and Eric Bledsoe, and it seemed like he’d be a nice pickup for the Clippers at the time.
Dudley had proven to be a smart perimeter defender and capable shooter during his time in Phoenix, and a good locker room guy, as well.
But it was a bit of a down year for Dudley in Los Angeles. His shooting percentages dipped as did his overall level of production, and by the time the playoffs rolled around, he was a fringe player in the rotation, averaging just 6.4 minutes per game in seven postseason appearances.
The Clippers are trying to compete for a title, and obviously decided that roster spots were more valuable than what Dudley would be able to give them moving forward. They traded him to Milwaukee for two players that L.A. immediately waived, and while leaving a contending team in Los Angeles to play for a rebuilding one in Milwaukee might seem disastrous to some, Dudley sees things differently, and is taking a more positive approach.
The 29-year-old small forward arrived in Milwaukee on Tuesday and said he sees an opportunity after last week’s trade sent him from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Bucks.
“Going from a contender to a team that’s rebuilding, to me that really doesn’t matter,” Dudley said. “As a professional, you’ve got to come in with the right mind-set and play in the right way.
“The way I’ve conducted myself throughout the league, that will be the same thing here. This team has a lot going good for them with Jabari Parker coming in here and what he can potentially do for this franchise. That’s a huge upside.”
Another interesting tidbit in this piece is Dudley explaining how he wasn’t right physically, and told Doc Rivers as much at one point during the season. But Rivers pressed him into action anyway, which may have had something to do with Dudley’s lower level of production.
“I remember around November or December I basically told coach (Doc) Rivers I couldn’t go,” Dudley said. “We had so many injuries. J.J. (Redick) was out; Matt Barnes was out. Basically he (Rivers) wanted me to fight through it.
“I told him I could; I just wouldn’t be 100%. I think what I did was give him a body to hold the minutes down until those guys got back. For me personally, I might have suffered. But from the team standpoint we were able to get that three spot (playoff seeding) we needed to have.
“When you look back, would I have done it different? Maybe. But that was just me trying to give my body for a new team and a new coach.”
That’s about as professional as it gets, and as silly as it may seem to try to convince us that playing in Milwaukee is just as good as playing in L.A., we’ll give Dudley the benefit of the doubt here under the circumstances.