Jared Dudley, now 34 and in his 13th year in the NBA, knows the Nets, having spent a productive year in Brooklyn and the superstar culture having played with Steve Nash, Chris Paul, John Wall and now LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
So he has an interesting perspective on what’s going on with the Nets in the era of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Dudley spoke Tuesday with Knicks beat writers about the ramifications of acquiring two players were voted All-NBA last season. The big change, he said, has to be with the culture and the need for both sides to adjust. As SNY’s Ian Begley noted in his story...
“It definitely changed culture-wise, for sure. Because any time you bring a Durant and Kyrie, they bring their trainers, they bring their stuff, they bring their personalities so it definitely changes.
”…. It’s hard to maintain that type of culture. The reason I say that - Anthony Davis. Culture is relative for how you want it. You can’t win a championship if you don’t have the best players. So no matter what culture you have, if you bring that same team back you’re only going so far with your talent. Adding them two, you ingrain them.
”So adding them two, you’re going to keep the same medical staff, they’re still testing every Monday. They still have player development. Now that being said, the better player you are, the higher you are, you get perks. So maybe you don’t have to do it as much. So Kevin Durant can go to L.A. and do his thing (Durant was in Los Angeles attending The Real Run Winter Classic high school basketball tournament this weekend). We understand it’s a business. At the end of the day, they can still keep it and Durant signed up knowing what they’re about, what Kenny (Atkinson) is about, their style of play. It’s hard to play it now that you have Kyrie. They were top-five in offense when he was there. They were struggling defensively. And now it’s kind of the opposite.”
Dudley also suggested that with KD and Kyrie taking up so much of the Nets oxygen, the organization has to make sure that one of the things that got them the two superstars —their uncanny ability to identify and develop young players— can’t be forgotten. In particular, he singled out the regression of Rodions Kurucs this season. Dudley had mentored Kurucs last season.
“I’m not liking what I see with Rodi’s development. And that’s where, he was a huge part for what I saw of the future. (Taurean) Prince kind of took a little bit of that. And then, I’m glad they started Jarrett Allen there because his growth for them next year is crucial for them.
”….They knew Durant wasn’t going to play this year. So development (of young players) is still crucial (this season). Can Caris get back to All-Star form? Can Rodi take a step where if you get him to play above his contract, now you have that. And then eventually what’s going to happen, when KD comes back, (it becomes) who works with KD and Kyrie? So if you develop those guys, those are trade partners. Jarrett Allen, Rodi, these guys that you can eventually use. You’ve got to have them grow. Right now, they’re kind of being a little stagnant. You’re hoping that Kyrie gets healthy and takes them to the next level.”
Dudley also thinks that the Nets current issues shouldn’t obscure the reality that they have so many top players under contract long-term and that KD and Kyrie are, once healthy, KD and Kyrie.
“If I were to tell you that they were to sign (Kevin) Durant, Kryie (Irving) was going to miss 70 percent of the season, Caris (LeVert) was going to miss six, seven weeks, I would have told you the exact position they’re in.
”They don’t have that firepower. Plus moving compartments, that’s a whole new team, whole new identity. I’d tell you exactly where they’re at, (which is) around .500. (The Nets were 16-20 after Tuesday’s OT loss to OKC) I think that Spencer (Dinwiddie) is right there around the All-Star cusp.
”I think that if they would have had a Kyrie, I would have put them in there with Indiana, 4-5 (playoff seed). I thought early on, they’d be a four seed, win one round of a series and return in the second round. Now, they’ll probably be on the back end just because of the (injured) bodies but it’s going to take them a while.
”I knew it was a two-year plan. It’s a bridge-gap…. I mean this time next year when Kevin Durant, Kyrie is there and they’re a top two or three seed we’re not even going to be worried about this year for them.”
Finally, in Begley’s retelling of Dudley’s comments, the veteran player once again talked about how important the HSS Training Center has been for the Nets ... and how the Knicks should emulate them and build a new practice facility closer to the Garden.
Dudley reiterated his thoughts on the Knicks and Nets practice facility on Tuesday, stating that he thinks the Knicks could land top free agents if they had a practice facility that was in a more convenient location in relation to Madison Square Garden.
Dudley had said over the summer and more recently in an interview with The Athletic that the location of the Knicks practice facility hurts them in free agency. He said that was the reason that Brooklyn landed Durant in free agency.
Stefan Bondy reported the veteran had hoped to re-sign with Brooklyn but didn’t hear from Sean Marks early in preseason. He did say that the Nets ultimately made him an offer, but by that time, LeBron James was recruiting him to the Lakers.
- Former Net Jared Dudley believes team’s focus this season should be player development - Ian Begley - SNY
- Jared Dudley knows the Nets’ culture has to change with superstars in the fold - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News