Jared Dudley may not be the big-name free agent Boston fans are hoping for, but he would be a huge signing
After being drafted 22nd overall out of Boston College in 2007, Jared Dudley has made it around the league and solidified himself as a solid rotational player. The 6’7″ multi-purpose player is only 30-years old and will be looking to latch onto a contender this off-season.
The Boston Celtics are deep and well-rounded, however, they still lack a true three-point specialist. Drafting Jamal Murray with the Brooklyn Nets pick is always a possibility, but the Celtics could also turn to a veteran who is one of the best three-point shooters in the NBA this season.
Dudley is shooting 42 percent from behind the arc this season, good enough for seventh in the NBA. After being traded from the Milwaukee Bucks to Washington last season for a second round pick, Dudley has re-found his shooting stroke. Dudley’s career-high three-point percentage is 45.8 in 2009-10 when he attempted 262 threes for the Phoenix Suns, however, this season he has taken on a new role.
Despite only being 6’7″, Dudley has been put in as power forward 92 percent of the time for Washington this season. He has made a career out of being a three-point shooting small forward (53 percent of his career minutes) but the Wizards decided to play him as a stretch-four this season due to injuries.
While the Celtics hope to re-sign Evan Turner to use as power forward in their small-ball lineups, signing Dudley would still be huge.
Dudley would give Boston another reliable player off the bench who can play shooting guard or small forward, besides Turner. He has also played in at least 65 games all nine seasons and at least 70 games in seven seasons. Dudley is not someone who will miss a lot of games and having another iron man bench player alongside Turner would be beneficial. While rarely missing games is impressive, Dudley’s ability to make an impact whether coming off the bench or starting is what’s most impressive.
Dudley has only started 251 of 672 career games, although, that has not been an issue for him. His career three-point percentage is 39.9 percent, whether he starts or comes off the bench, and his true shooting percentage and offensive rating each increase as a bench player. He knows how to make an impact in not a lot of time, which is something very rare in bench players.
Dudley would provide Boston with a three-point specialist while not taking up too many shots. His 8.3 shot attempts per game would only rank seventh on the Celtics this season and his 4.2 three-point attempts per game would have ranked fourth. 50 percent of his shot attempts have also been from behind the arc, which would cause defenses to stay on him and help space the floor out even more. Signing a three-point specialist would be huge as it would create more space for Isaiah Thomas to drive to the basket, or help players like Marcus Smart or Avery Bradley cut to the basket for an open layup.
Dudley has been paid a mere $4.25 million in each of the past five seasons. He shouldn’t command more than $5 million this off-season, even with the boost in the salary cap.
He won’t be the sexy signing that will get the fans excited for the season, however, having key rotational players is always a must for contending teams. Signing an already established three-point specialist would not only give them more stability than a rookie, but would also give Boston more flexibility to package the Nets pick in a blockbuster trade.
Dudley would give the Celtics another player who can space the floor and his versatility will be something that stands out to the Celtics. He is a vet that knows what it takes to make it in the NBA, and adding another veteran presence on a young team is always a good idea.