Jared Dudley, the Consummate Role Player

Jared Dudley was an undersized forward coming out of college that carved out an 11-year career to date in the NBA. Given his terrific communication skills, he is very likely to have a long second career as a member of the media or on a coaching staff.

Dudley sat down with Adrian Wojnarowski (“Woj”) for an hour-long podcast to talk about trends in pro basketball and how he has stuck around the league for so long. My notes are below:

— He has had an 11 year career because he knows his role. There are only 2-3 scorers per team in the NBA and everyone else is a role player. It’s on them to figure out how to fit in around the stars. Be a star in your role.

— For several years now, the majority of his value in the league comes from his ability to teach professionalism to the young franchise players that his current team has on the roster. He is willing to sacrifice playing time in order to show those young guys the ropes.

Dudley’s first superstar pupil was Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks. Jared says what makes Giannis special is he is the rare superstar that doesn’t care about being embarrassed. He will try to swat every opponent’s dunk attempt and guard the opposing superstar as much as possible even if it means he gets beat more often.

— Putting up empty stats on a bad team doesn’t have value anymore. Teams see through that. It’s all about efficiency now, showing how you can contribute to winning. Is he a team guy? What is his reputation?

— What separates good front offices? Honesty. Be straight up about what you see that player doing for you. Don’t promise that they’ll never get traded or are going to twenty shots a night. If a good front office expects something of you and you deliver, they will look out for you.

— Dudley spent one season with the Los Angeles Clippers. Expectations were high for that team since it featured multiple star players, but they continually came up short. Dudley says the issue was chemistry. You don’t have to be best friends but you gotta like each other. Not all work environments will mesh though even if you have some star talent. When you don’t have camaraderie, you don’t hang out. And when you don’t hang out, it makes it hard to come together when shit hits the fan. And that’s what this is about. Everyone is gonna face adversity, even the world champion Warriors did when Kevin Durant got injured for part of last season.

— Dudley’s rookie year was in Charlotte when Michael Jordan was running the team’s basketball operations. Dudley had the guts to ask the greatest hooper ever to hang out, and Jordan took him up on the offer. They would grab dinner on occasion during road trips.

— One of Dudley’s first pro coaches was Hall of Famer Larry Brown. Brown is known for being very demanding of his players. Jared said he was the most attention-to-detail coach he has ever seen. Larry didn’t care about politics or where you were drafted either. He was playing who he thought gave the team the best chance to win.

The hardest part of a head coach’s job is getting buy-in from all fifteen players in the locker room. At any time, 7-8 guys think they deserve more playing time and 2 think they ought to be starting, and the coach has to convince them all of what he’s selling. Being a great communicator is half of the job.

Jared thinks his current coach, Earl Watson, does a good job with the young franchise players because he lets them be themselves but is demanding and brutally honest. The honesty comes from a place of love though because he wants to see them be more successful.

Source: The Woj Pod