Latest posts by Ben Stinar (see all)
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INDIANAPOLIS — The NBA has been Jared Dudley’s life since 2007 and he’s a seasoned veteran who has seen it all. The only thing he may not have seen? His 33-year-old self starting for the Brooklyn Nets in 2018. It’s been a while, but Dudley was in the starting lineup against the Pacers in Indianapolis on Saturday night, just as he was for the Nets’ first two games this season.
“Obviously, two years with limited playing time in Phoenix, to get out there and dust the cobwebs off, and something that felt good; just the shooting, the playmaking,” Dudley told Amico Hoops after the Nets lost to the Pacers, 132-112. “Trying to do the little intangibles for this young team, and show them stats don’t really matter.”
Dudley, now in his 12th NBA season, had a strong run during his first tenure in Phoenix, averaging nearly 13 points per game in 2011. He never had many natural gifts like athleticism. Instead, he mastered fundamentals and wants to share that with Brooklyn’s young core.
“It’s all about doing the winning plays for this team,” Dudley said. “We’re slowly getting there, and that’s what I am here for. To be able to show them if I can go out there and do it the right, proper way. Someone who’s not athletic who’s not fast, and they can do it even better than me. We’ve been up and down, a little rollercoaster, and it’s going to continue, and hopefully by January, February, we can figure it out.”
The 22nd overall pick of the 2007 draft out of Boston College by the Charlotte Bobcats has also played for the Clippers, the Wizards, the Suns and the Bucks in addition to the Nets, so he knows what an organization is when he sees one. In his mind, the Nets are at the forefront of what a winning culture looks like.
“First things first, when you get traded, the things they do for your family,” the 6-foot-7, 225-pounder said. “Your wife, your mom, your dad feel welcomed. You get here and come to the training staff. I think they have the largest training staff by times two, where it has all the proper stuff that you need. When it comes to team dinners, providing on the road, they’re real big on everyone being together.”
In addition to the culture, the practice facility has stood out to him in ways others haven’t.
“When it comes to facilities being top-notch, Brooklyn (has) one of the best practice facilities,” he said.
Coach Kenny Atkinson’s Nets (1-2), who play Wednesday night in Cleveland against the Cavaliers, also does a phenomenal job of holding everyone accountable, in Dudley’s eyes.
“It’s kind of rare where they’re calling everyone out,” Dudley admitted. “The head coach keeps the assistants accountable, keeps the water boys accountable, keeps the players… and so everyone has the ability do to their job. It’s refreshing to have that because all organizations aren’t like that.”
The best part about being in a starting role, something he did not do once in 48 games for the Suns last season?
“Just being out there and being able to still be effective. Passing my knowledge on,” Dudley said. “It’s different when you’re playing because they can see someone who is 33, who might not have the skillset others have to be effective and do winning plays, that hopefully, they can take a little bit from me.”