Jared Dudley has been out of the rotation for most of the season but will the Los Angeles Lakers need his shooting expertise on their road to the championship?
Los Angeles Lakers forward Jared Dudley has spent the last few years marketing himself as a great locker room presence. Dudley told Lakers beat writers that he wanted to bring positive energy to the team. For example, clapping for teammates from the bench.
But can he be more than a locker room presence for the Lakers this season? Yes, as head coach Frank Vogel is currently running a post-up centric offense, as his team is second in the league in post-up possessions averaging 14.5 per game.
This offense forces perimeter players to spend a substantial portion of minutes in the role of 3 point shooter, and he has time and time again chosen players ineffective in the role. Markieff Morris and Kyle Kuzma have all at a point, or another averaged at least 14.8 minutes on the court, even with shooting being a flaw in their games, while Dudley, whose strength is shooting, has been used sparingly. Should the Los Angeles Lakers give Dudley more minutes?
Morris has taken 58.3 percent of his field-goal attempts from behind the arc in his first eight games with the Lakers. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to thrive in the role, as it’s his biggest flaw. Morris has shot 35.1 percent on catch and shoot 3s over his career.
His inability to make the catch and shoot 3s consistently had prevented him from being a good 3 point shooter, as he has shot 34.4 percent from behind the arc in his career. His bad track record had continued with the Lakers, as he has shot 26.3 percent on catch and shoot 3s over the first 8 games with the team, and 28.6 percent from behind the arc as a whole.
His play has hurt the Lakers as a team, as they have an offensive rating of 95.1 when he’s on the floor. More importantly, they are only shooting 21.1 percent from behind the arc on 9.5 attempts per game. Both of these factors have contributed to the team being outscored by 6.4 points per 100 possessions when he is on the court.
A prime example of the team’s struggles with Morris on the floor can be found during a home game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Morris missed both of his field goal attempts from behind the arc, only scoring two points from the free throw line in 13 minutes.
The Los Angeles Lakers should look at other players on the roster to fulfill the role of 3 point shooter. One of those players is Dudley. He has shot 39.1 percent on catch-and-shoot 3s over his career.
The ability to thrive on catch and shoot 3s has helped him have success as a whole, as he has a career 3-point percentage of 39.4 percent. His success from behind the arc has been a positive for the Lakers.
A prime example of this was found in a road game against the Orlando Magic when Dudley made three out of four uncontested shots from behind the arc in 21 minutes. Those nine points helped the team outscore Orlando by 16 points.
Unfortunately, it is unlikely that Vogel considers the move as Dudley has only played in 63.5 percent of the team’s games, averaging 7.8 minutes per game. 61.5 percent of his minutes have come in garbage time as he is averaging 4.8 minutes in the 4th quarter.
The decision will create a tougher road for Los Angeles to win the championship as they won’t have the proper amount of shooting.