Jared Dudley Says “I Had To Sacrifice Myself” For Clippers

It was a tough 2013-14 season for Jared Dudley. After finally getting a chance to play for a contender again when the Clippers acquired him from the Suns as part of their three-team Eric Bledsoe trade — ironically involving the Bucks — Dudley was going to team with fellow shooter, J.J. Redick, to turn the Clippers into an offensive monster. Except, Redick got injured, and Dudley struggled, playing through a series of ailments for a team that needed fresh bodies.

Dudley, a 6-7 small forward, had to suit up because the Clippers were so dinged up at the three spot. Fellow small forward, Matt Barnes, missed time and the Clippers grabbed Danny Granger off of waivers after he was waived by the Sixers. They also signed Stephen Jackson and Hedo Turkoglu for a small forward position they never had enough bodies for. Still, Dudley feels he played injured, and it might have led to his numbers taking such a severe nosedive.

Per the Associated Press by way of ESPN.com:

“It was probably the most injury-plagued season I’ve had,” Dudley said Tuesday at the Bucks’ training facility. “I was trying to sacrifice myself. I told Coach (Doc) Rivers that I couldn’t go, but we had so many injuries he needed me to fight through it.

“I told him I could but I wouldn’t be 100 percent. Obviously, my production wasn’t as well but I was able to give him a body to cover those minutes. Personally, my numbers suffered but for the team, we were able to get that three-spot covered,” Dudley said.

Dudley is right when he says his numbers suffered. He shot worse from the field as a whole and worse from behind the three-point arc. His player efficiency rating dropped from 14.9 in his last season in Phoenix (he recorded a 15.6 an 15.4 PER in the two previous seasons, too), his PER dropped to a career-low 8.9 last year.

Whether that’s related to playing at less than 100 percent, only he — and possibly the Clippers’ training staff — can answer. Still, Dudley is excited about the move, even if he’s going from a title contender to a team that finished with the worst record in the NBA last season, at 15-67.

“Going from a contender to a team that’s rebuilding, for me, that really doesn’t matter,” Dudley told reporters. “I’ve played in all kinds of situations. As a professional, you have to come in with the right mindset and play the game the right way. This team has a lot going for it with Jabari coming in here … that’s a huge upside.”

With Jabari coming in, an improving and growing Giannis, and Larry Sanders hopefully finding the form that escaped him in an injured-plagued 2013-14 campaign, the Bucks don’t look half bad on paper. Plus, if Dudley is banged up, he won’t feel the same pressure to suit up like he did in Los Angeles, and he can get his body healthy before heading out on the court.

What do you think?

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