Jared Dudley Looking Forward to Playing for Nets Coach Kenny Atkinson
Versatile forward brings veteran presence and 3-point shooting range to Brooklyn
Jared Dudley almost became a Net two years ago. And the reason then is the same reason he's happy to be in Brooklyn today: coach Kenny Atkinson.
“I would say his confidence," said Dudley of what struck him about the third-year Brooklyn head coach. "I think that you could tell the way he talks he’s a New Yorker in a sense of his confidence. Not being bold, but his attitude toward trying to get better, trying to work, the hard work. He seems to me a blue-collar guy, put your hardhat on here, come and let’s work, let’s have fun and let’s get better."
Dudley met the media at HSS Training Center on Wednesday, just a few days after the Nets acquired him -- along with a 2021 second-round draft pick (protected) -- in exchange for forward Darrell Arthur. Dudley, who has one year left on the three-year deal he signed two summers ago when he opted to return to Phoenix, doesn't seem to mind the change.
He gave the Nets strong consideration two summers ago, much because of Atkinson. And not just the attitude that he mentioned, but the style of basketball the Nets play.
“High IQ, ball movement side-to-side, likes to shoot a lot of different threes but likes to put pressure on the offense with different stuff, or as you saw in Atlanta how their offense was," said Dudley. "Especially for me, being a trailing four where he likes those power forwards to be able to, once the point guard swings to you, to be able to go from side-to-side both ways and kind of being a second point guard. For me, that’s one of my strong suits here in the NBA with reading defenses, moving side-to-side, going to pick-and-rolls. I just think it’s kind of a perfect match.”
Going into his 12th NBA season, Dudley has long been known for his glue-guy versatility and complete game. At 6-foot-7, he can play either forward spot, and with a career 39.6 3-point shooting percentage, he could bring needed shooting range to the frontcourt in small-ball lineups.
For his career, Dudley has averaged 8.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game.
In Phoenix, the 32-year-old slid into a mentorship role with the young Suns, and he expects to take on similar responsibility in Brooklyn. He likes what he's seen from two of Brooklyn's key young core pieces, D'Angelo Russell and Jarrett Allen.
"Everybody knows his scoring ability," said Dudley of Russell. "I think for him, and I talked to him on the phone, is how you can make your teammates better. In this league if you look at all the top stars everyone can score, it’s about how you can make others better. The point guard should be your biggest leader, sometimes not always, but when I played with (Steve) Nash, (Chris) Paul and John Wall, those guys all led by example. So for him, when I get here in a couple weeks I’d like to see how he leads.
"I think Jarrett Allen – the potential for him where he’s a big that can move side to side, be able to block shots. I know he’s progressed over the last year and I think those two are the cornerstones and we all have to fall in place and play our roles around them.”
He's looking forward to not just living in Brooklyn, but playing in Barclays Center, an arena in which he says he's always shot well.
"I think in Brooklyn they respect the hustle and playing the right way," said Dudley, "and because of that, fans come out and support that."
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