Jared Dudley must have felt extra rambunctious while making his media rounds at ESPN yesterday. Dudley, the 29-year-old swingman of the Milwaukee Bucks, made appearances on notable World Wide Leader programming such as ESPN 2’s debate show First Take, and on Colin Cowherd’s ESPN radio show, The Herd.
Perhaps the contrarian, bloviated nature of shows such as First Take and The Herd rubbed off on Dudley some? Because, well, Dudley’s takes were somewhere between blistering and molten lava hot.
Here’s Dudley offerings on Carmelo Anthony‘s playoff successes, or lack thereof:
“He’s gotta get out of the first, second rounds — he’s gotta get his teams to the playoffs. LeBron, with that (Knicks) roster, LeBron would’ve gotten them to the playoffs. They would’ve been at least an eight-seed.”
Mind you, this response came after being asked which star Dudley believed to be the most overrated in basketball. And, well, you at least appreciate his candor, right? If not his candor, then perhaps his bluntness. How many NBA players would deflect this question?
And we haven’t even gotten to the element of truth in Dudley’s response. I mean, the Knicks were truly abysmal and that’s obviously not entirely Anthony’s fault, but they make the playoffs in the East with LeBron, don’t they?
And to Dudley’s larger standing point: how much better does Carmelo Anthony make his teams? It’s certainly not fair to reduce a team game unto one man’s ability, but LeBron’s out here making yet another NBA Finals appearance with supporting roles courtesy of former-Anthony lackeys — Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith.
There’s a much deeper argument to be made and had, but Dudley’s surprisingly honest take isn’t exactly misguided. Oh, and he was just warming up.
Here’s his take on one Kobe Bean Bryant:
“Most guys don’t want to play with Kobe. He gets in this thing where he doesn’t pass and then overpasses and then trying to get triple doubles every night, so we know you have it, it’s just not something he wants to do.”
That’s … again, not totally wrong. Kobe does do that thing — especially in recent years, when, coincidentally, his teams weren’t very good — where he’ll be on a mission to pass an un-Kobe-like amount. Where he’s hunting for assists as if to prove something to the rest of us. As if — again, speaking in the context of late-career Kobe, here — the infrequent team play excuses his astronomically high usage rate coupled with his embarrassingly low efficiency.
So, it’s not like Dudley is just talking mess…
“That’s why I think it will be a while for the Lakers to get good because they’ve got no stars.”
JARED DUDLEY. DAMN. DON’T DO ‘EM LIKE THAT.
It’s one thing to talk about individual players, but then he goes and gives the entire Lakers franchise the business. But, I mean, is he wrong?
For everything Dudley said yesterday — he was appreciative of James Harden and Zach Randolph (wise move), also touched on Kevin Love — he wasn’t talking reckless when you take the quotes in context. If you take the quotes out of context, you’ll get the ‘RINGZ’ crowd to emerge, but those people are missing the point.
Jared Dudley isn’t out to be some sort of villain. He answered a couple of questions and gave actual answers. Isn’t that what he want out of our athletes, anyway? Why isn’t he allowed to give his opinion on Kobe? Because he was honest?
I’m not here trying to defend Jared Dudley, but I’m here to say I wish more athletes spoke as freely as he did here. He’s not a ‘clown’ because he’s not the caliber player that Kobe and Melo are. Hey, newsflash: anybody can have an opinion on basketball if they so please. It just helps when they come across as informed, and, I mean, it’s hard to say Dudley’s thoughts were wrong.