Jared Dudley with the Clippers may be the textbook case of a situation that looked great on paper and not so much when he got on the court.
Dudley was better than some bitter Clippers fans give him credit for — he hit 43.2% of his corner threes and his team defense was solid as usual — but he struggled to shoot from most other places on the floor, he struggled to defend when isolated on more athletic threes, his passing was unimpressive, and his rebounding was nonexistent. His game just regressed and he was supplanted by Matt Barnes as the season wore on. You knew he would get moved this summer and he was.
Part of the reason? His knees were bothering him with tendonitis (which was known around the team last year), something his new Milwaukee coach Jason Kidd talked about to the Journal Sentinel.
“We need (his veteran presence) in the locker room as much as we need him to be himself on the court by defending and knocking down threes and being part of the team.” (Kidd said.)
Dudley said last week he struggled with the Clippers in part due to a pair of knee injuries.
“Every athlete goes through it,” Kidd said. “You’re going to have some injuries; you’re going to have a down year. But it’s how you bounce back. You get another opportunity and we look for good things from him.”
What else is Kidd going to say?
And maybe Dudley can grow into the veteran mentor role on a team loaded with young talent — Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, John Henson and Larry Sanders, among others. The Bucks need that.
What Kidd needs to take away from Dudley’s last season is that he can’t lean on him for 30 minutes a night, tendonitis is something where you need to get the player some rest. Doc Rivers really never gave Dudley that early in the season (when he did later Dudley didn’t respond). Kidd knows the kind of rest his veterans need, he’s been there, he can run the younger kids more.