After a strong first half of the season and a mediocre first month, the Los Angeles Lakers (LA Lakers) finally started to hit their stride in November. The Lakers got hot at the end of the month and it seemed like they had found a second gear that had eluded them all year. With the Lakers on top of the Western Conference as of this writing, it seemed as if their playoff run was as good as over.
The Los Angeles Lakers are having a down year after getting off to a hot start. The Lakers are 4-3 so far this season, good for 6th in the Western Conference, but are missing their best player, LeBron James, who is out with a groin injury.
The Los Angeles Lakers have been through a lot this offseason. They lost two of their best players in Paul George and Kobe Bryant, and they have tried to replace them with a young core of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Jordan Clarkson. But after a disappointing 34-48 season, the Lakers have been looking for a player to help build their offense.
The roster of the Los Angeles Lakers has been completely overhauled once again. While LeBron James and Anthony Davis remain the team’s core, the rest of the roster has changed, with former MVP Russell Westbrook leading the way.
Aside from the headliners, LA’s supporting cast has altered dramatically this offseason. Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope have all departed the Lakers, while Carmelo Anthony, Kendrick Nunn, and Trevor Ariza have all arrived.
Even though he was a benchwarmer who only played in 12 games last season, the Lakers have bid farewell to an important veteran and a vocal leader on and off the court.
Jared Dudley, a Lakers veteran, is retiring and joining the Mavericks.
LeBron James (L) waves to teammate Jared Dudley as he exits the floor (R). | Getty Images/Michael Reaves
Jared Dudley is swapping in his jersey for a clipboard after 14 years in the league.
On Twitter, he announced his retirement as well as his new coaching job with the Dallas Mavericks. The 36-year-old will serve as new Mavs head coach Jason Kidd’s right-hand man.
According to the statistics, Dudley had a good but unremarkable career. He played 14 seasons in the league, averaging 7.3 points per game, since joining the league in 2007. In 2011-12, he had his finest season, averaging 12.7 points per game while starting almost every game for the Phoenix Suns.
As he grew older, though, Dudley’s position on the floor became increasingly restricted. He only played in 57 regular-season games in his final two seasons in Los Angeles, averaging 7.8 minutes and 1.3 points per game.
Dudley’s departure from Los Angeles seems to have devastated LeBron James.
With the Lakers, Dudley’s contribution on the court was minimal. His teammates and others in the NBA, on the other hand, never underestimated his leadership and mentoring abilities.
Kendrick Perkins, a former NBA player, was one of the former players that praised Dudley. “Jared Dudley is the epitome of ideal teammate and professional,” the former Boston Celtics center tweeted. If you aren’t, you won’t be able to play as long as he did and stroll into a coaching position! Congratulations on your Mavs contract; they got a nice one! Continue…”
Of course, no one in the NBA has a louder voice than LeBron James.
James expressed his displeasure at Dudley’s departure from the Lakers by tweeting, “Congrats to my man if this is real, which it probably is!” However, the good wishes were followed with a face-palm emoji and a specific four-letter word in all capitals.
Dudley’s leadership will be missed by the Lakers.
Former Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson discussed Dudley’s influence on his youthful squad in a 2018 article for The Athletic. The Nets had acquired Dudley during the summer after back-to-back last-place finishes.
According to Atkinson,
“His intellect in terms of how to play the pick-and-roll, he does small things on the court that are difficult for others to see,” Atkinson said. “Off the court, today offensively, we went through stuff, and he offered two ideas, and you’re like, ‘Yes, that makes sense.’ We discussed the game’s ending cinematic, and he had a statement that isn’t a know-it-all remark. Because of his lively nature, he initiates conversation and engages the coaches. Then he starts interacting with the other participants. It is one of a kind. In terms of leadership, I’ve never seen a man that is more outspoken and energetic.”
The Athletic’s Michael Scotto (2018)
The leadership that Atkinson mentioned is the same leadership that the Lakers are about to lose. Dudley was someone who could assist keep everyone on the same page and focused on the same objective in LA, where there were a lot of new components.
While there are plenty of veterans on LA’s squad, a few have had their leadership skills called into doubt. Westbrook, like Anthony, has been chastised in the past for being a poor teammate. Dudley has praised James as a strong leader, but it will be difficult for him to fill Dudley’s shoes while sustaining his current level of productivity on the floor.
To make things worse, Dudley is departing to join the Mavericks, who are headed by Luka Doncic, a superstar. After three seasons in the NBA, the 22-year-old has already drawn comparisons to James. The Mavs may rise to the next level now that Dudley is coaching Luka, while the Lakers continue to fall short of a title.
Basketball Reference provided all statistics.
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