Veteran forward Jared Dudley spent 16 minutes on the floor in the Los Angeles Lakers‘ preseason win over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, scoring three points via a long-distance bomb. With that, LeBron James gave Dudley a new nickname after the game.
On his Instagram Stories, James shared his new nickname for Dudley.
Dudley’s lone 3-pointer in the game wasn’t just your normal swish. It actually gave the Lakers a safe seven-point lead with under a minute left in the game. In other words, Dudley hit the dagger 3-pointer that killed the Suns’ hope of a comeback.
Jared Dudley’s leadership in the fourth quarter led the Lakers to a win.@JaredDudley619 is clutch. https://t.co/aVGuIOwVjo
— Sports Notes (@TheSportsNotes) December 17, 2020
Lakers fans should savor the offseason because this might be the only playing time they’ll see Dudley on the floor for more than five minutes. After all, the 35-year-old has been embracing a backseat (yet very important) role for the Purple and Gold. He’s there to provide vocal leadership to a team that is also filled with young guns.
Some casual NBA fans fail to realize how important Dudley is to the team. Some of them even don’t know that at the peak of his career, Dudley was a designated shooter. During his stint with the Phoenix Suns, Dudley shot as high as 45.8 percent (on more than three attempts) from downtown. Despite standing at 6-foot-6, Dudley’s mass enabled him to move up to the four spot easily.
And of course, what has enabled Jared Dudley to stay in the league for 14 years is his basketball smarts, gregarious personality, and just being an all-around good guy. While guys like LeBron James and Anthony Davis are the most important pieces of the Lakers’ championship squad, fans should realize that vets like Dagger Dudz play an equally critical role.