Clips Need Dudley’s 3-Ball To Heat Up


VIDEO: Jared Dudley steals and passes to Blake Griffin for the finish

HANG TIME SOUTHWEST – When the Los Angeles Clippers engaged in a three-team trade that netted J.J. Redick from Milwaukee and Jared Dudley from Phoenix, it seemed like a great idea. The Clippers needed floor-spacers and accurate 3-point shooters around Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.

Then it became clear that Redick and Dudley, both mostly career backups, would be starters for a team with title aspirations. The 6-foot-4 Redick is essentially a one-trick pony, a sharpshooter, who was hitting just 35.9 percent of his long balls before fracturing his right hand. He played in 17 of the Clippers’ first 32 games and is expected to miss another two to four weeks.

Dudley has never averaged more than 12.7 ppg and his best statistical seasons from beyond the arc came as a 26-minute-or-less bench player with the Suns. So far as the Clippers’ starting small forward — he replaced the aging Caron Butler —  he’s slogging through the worst shooting of his career — 43.6 percent overall and 34.1 percent from beyond the arc. He’s averaging 8.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg and 1.5 apg, numbers that rank near the bottom in every category for a starter at his position.

While the league’s general managers voted both Redick and Dudley as two of the most underrated moves during the offseason, Dudley also finished in a tie for third in the category: Which player makes the most of limited natural ability. If Dudley’s long ball isn’t falling, then his contribution to the team is going to be limited.

In the last five games, Dudley has logged more than 28 minutes once and is 4-for-19 from 3-point territory. The Clippers rank 26th in 3-point percentage (33.2) despite ranking seventh in the 3-point attempts per game (23.6).

“I don’t know why he’s not playing well, but we need him to play well,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers told the Los Angeles Times. “That [small forward] spot right now, it’s been hurting us a little bit. But Jared is still not healthy. He’s getting healthy. We’ve got to get him in better shape.”

Dudley is playing through tendinitis in his right knee, although it hasn’t caused him to miss any games. He told the Times that he’s playing at about 85 percent, but that he’s markedly better than the first 15 to 20 games.

He also knows he just hasn’t been playing well. A rough shooting stretch during the middle of the month, Dudley, a active and fan-friendly user on Twitter, actually apologized to Clippers fans:

During four consecutive wins from Dec. 16-22, Dudley knocked down 22 shots on 39 attempts and was 13-for-23 from downtown. In the last four games he’s just 9-for-26 from the floor. He has just eight points in the last three games, including being shut out at Portland.

The Clippers’ offensive efficiency is the same with Dudley off the floor as it is with him on the floor.

“When you’re a role guy, there are games when you’re not going to shoot that much,” Dudley told the Times. “One game I shot eight 3s. Some games you’re not going to shoot a 3, depending on the defense. You’ve got to be ready.”

As the starting small forward, and especially with Redick shelved for a few more weeks, Dudley’s point production from beyond the arc is critical for a team in a dead heat with Houston for the all-important fourth seed in the West.

12 Comments

  1. Kamote says:

    Start Barnes over Dudley, just to have that blue collar physical play along with Blake and DeAndre. He could be playing limited minutes, but he can shoot 3’s to create space and would help in smothering defenses against elite wing players. Dudley can come off the bench which I think he’ll be more effective. It really doesn’t matter who starts (especially for role players). What matters is what you bring on the court and how it affects the current 5 that’s playing. Barnes has been effective last year. Just give him that chance.

  2. Joshua Greenfarb says:

    Believe it or not, but I’d rather have Reggie Jackson than Chris Paul. I’m glad now that the Thunder didn’t get Chris Paul during the offseason. The guy is overpaid and, possibly, a little overrated. He and his Clippers got BLOWN OUT AT HOME by Phoenix today. WOW! I know Phoenix has been playing very well … but WOW! Chris Paul apparently was enjoying the Christmas holidays a little too much.

    In today’s NBA, you slack off just slightly … and you will likely pay the price. You take entire summers off, and you will pay the price.

  3. okc2014 says:

    Justsayin: What you said about Paul Peirce makes sense. I didn’t see it that way, thanks for giving me another angle to consider.

  4. thespectator says:

    clips will be perfect once okc and spurs are not in the west anymore…

  5. justsayin says:

    okc2014: Chris has earned his rep, and Blake is starting to live up to the hype this year as an all around player. If he keeps hitting free throws (and jumpers) his scoring average is about to balloon. But they do need more bench depth to contend. And like I said, a more productive SF starting.

    With Pierce you need to understand, it’s quite possible it’s the system he’s playing in and his team chemistry hampering him in Brooklyn. Put him back with the coach that knows how to utilize him, on a more well-rounded team that will move the ball to get him open looks, and he may show that he’s still got some game left – and perhaps at a price that will leave some room to upgrade the bench bigs situation.

  6. okc2014 says:

    Clippers are a work in progress. When all that pomp and circumstance was going on over the summer with the signing of Rivers as new Head Coach and Cliff Paul re-signing at the stroke of midnight, I was still not convinced this was a championship caliber team. Although Cliff Paul and Blake Griffin are great players, I STILL maintain they are way overrated. They most certainly improve every year, but that’s about it. Paul Pierce sounds kinda good. But he isn’t making noise in Brooklyn so I’m not understanding what significant noise he will make in Staples Center other than to be back w/ Rivers and out of the line of fire in Brooklyn?

  7. Game Time says:

    Dudley is not starting material on a team trying to build a championship contender. Not even sure where they got that idea from. I saw him play on the Suns and he was a streaky then. They should have tried to get Frye as a backup to Blake because with Barnes and Jamison you have the 3 filled, and still have Bullock. I like Dudley, but he just isn’t the right fit for Doc’s system.

  8. justsayin says:

    It’s a position they’ll need to upgrade next year. I doubt they’ll shell out for Melo or Bron if they opt out of their contracts, but there are other interesting targets, headlined by Rudy Gay, Danny Granger, and Luol Deng. I don’t know what their cap situation will be but any one of those guys could help tremendously. And although he’s restricted, I’d also be thrilled to see them make a run at Chandler Parsons.

    Paul Pierce could be a strong contender to jump ship and reunite with Doc after this nightmare season in Brooklyn, especially if they can get the price right to leave room to invest in a backup big.

    In the short term they could consider starting Barnes, who seems to space the floor pretty well for knockdown threes, and always gives max effort.

    • Game Time says:

      I think Pierce would be the perfect fit for that position, but not as a starter. Barnes should be starting like you suggested and backed up by Jackson or Bullock.

    • allaroundballer says:

      Luol deng is gonna be perfect piece for clip. Unlike rudy gay/paul pierce, he’s not demanding the ball cause he used to play with dominant PG, can shoot 3pts and better defender than granger/ch parson! I just doubt bulls wll trade him