Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
LOS ANGELES - Jared Dudley's with the Lakers now, but he's more than qualified to analyze what's happened with the Brooklyn Nets this season.
Dudley was an important on and off-court contributor for Brooklyn last season. He averaged five points in 20 minutes off the bench for the Nets and provided veteran leadership for young players like Caris LeVert and D'Angelo Russell.
So his thoughts on the Nets carry more weight than others.
On Tuesday night, Dudley answered questions from a small group of New York reporters about the Nets prior to the Lakers' game against the Knicks.
Here's what he said:
DUDLEY'S NOT OVERLY CONCERNED WITH THE NETS' RECENT STRUGGLES
"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."
DUDLEY IS A BIT CONCERNED ABOUT THE LACK OF DEVELOPMENT OF YOUNG NETS LIKE RODIONS KURUCS
"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 Rodie 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 THINKS THE CULTURE THAT THE NETS BUILT IN RECENT SEASONS HAS CHANGED, WHICH IS NATURAL WHEN YOU ADD SUPERSTARS TO THE ROSTER
"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 DOESN'T BELIEVE NETS ARE SUFFERING FROM A LACK OF VETERAN LEADERSHIP AFTER HE, ED DAVIS AND DEMARRE CARROL LEFT AS FREE AGENTS LAST SUMMER
"I played with Garrett Temple in D.C. He's a great vet. But I think that me, Ed and DeMarre knew our roles. We knew exactly what we were supposed to do. We encouraged and tried to bring up these young players - D-Lo, Spencer.
"And so for us it was easier where there was no threat in a sense of we've already been paid, we're trying to help you guys, you guys are the key. Now it's really who can fill in for Kyrie and once Kyrie left it was similar but different players around there.
"If I was there, it's still tough. The East has gotten better. You see how Boston is still good, Toronto is still good, Indiana is getting better. I think Brooklyn is right where they're going to be for a while. They need Kyrie back and then next year that's when they're going to be judged. You give them this one-year little gap and judge them again in September."
DUDLEY SAYS KNICKS COULD BENEFIT FROM DIFFERENT PRACTICE FACILITY LOCATION
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.
Here's what Dudley said to The Athletic:
"Nobody wants to live there, nobody wants to commute there. You have to get as close to the city as possible. That's why Brooklyn got Kevin Durant. I told DeAndre Jordan who told Kevin Durant that the [Nets'] practice facility is two minutes from [Barclays Center]. They didn't even know that. I lived in the city. It took me 12 minutes to get to the practice facility."
The Nets' practice facility is a roughly 15-minute drive from the Barclays Center. It's located in Brooklyn. The Knicks practice facility is in Westchester County, roughly 30 miles from Manhattan. The Knicks aren't the only team in the league, of course, who have a practice facility some distance from the arena. The Lakers, Clippers and Blazers, among others, also have facilities that are a significant distance from the arena.
It's worth noting that some of the veteran free agents who signed with the Knicks in recent seasons, including Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Joakim Noah, lived in Manhattan. Many young players live close to the practice facility in Westchester and commute to Manhattan on game nights.
Dudley reiterated on Tuesday that he feels the Knicks could be better positioned to land top free agents if they had a facility that was in a more convenient location in relation to Madison Square Garden.