Wednesday night wasn’t a bad one for Jared Dudley, but it wasn’t a particularly good one either.
He got the start at the 4 in place of resting DeMarre Carroll and didn’t try to do too much.
But some of his flaws became evident, particularly on the defensive end. He struggled with quickness and his work on a couple of possessions against Kawhi Leonard showed why he’s a stretch 4 now rather than a 3. He just doesn’t have the foot speed or lateral movement anymore.
Mostly what Dudley showed is that Rondae Hollis-Jefferson can’t get well soon enough. You love Dudley’s veteran presence and it’s clear his teammates listen and respect him. But if Dudley is still getting 20-plus minutes in the regular season, it’s not going to be a net positive.
Kenneth Faried made his delayed preseason debut for the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, taking on the backup center duties with Ed Davis resting.
It was the first live game action for Faried in more than eight months, since his final appearance with the Denver Nuggets on Feb. 1, and there was some rust showing on the offensive end.
But his effort and grit were solid and he had a terrific defensive sequence against Jonas Valanciunas in the first half. The much larger (7-feet, 265 pounds) Valanciunas got the ball just off the low block and started backing down Faried (6-foot-8, 228 pounds).
But Faried got his lower body spread out, bodies up the bigger Valanciunas and forced him into an awkward turnaround flip shot that was off the mark. If you wanted an instructional video on how to defend a larger big in the low post, that was it.
As Faried gets more reps and playing time, we’ll see more of the Manimal’s efficiency at the offensive end.