Jared Dudley wound up logging starter’s minutes in a reserve role Wednesday as Brooklyn went small to close out the game, sitting the big men and using Dudley as the small 4.
He made a couple of big 3-pointers and had some heady work on defense. Mostly what he provides now is a stabilizing force for the young units he’s playing with, a voice in the ears of the guys on the floor about where to be, how to defend and preaching situational awareness.
Dudley’s play as a reserve has been a shot in the arm for Brooklyn after he struggled toward the end of his tenure as the starter at the 4. He’s obviously well-liked and well-respected in the locker room and on the bench and showing he can do it on the floor as well just lends credibility.
D’Angelo Russell‘s role Wednesday night was as a starter, but not a finisher, as he sat the final 17:35 of the game as Spencer Dinwiddie ran the show down the stretch.
He was productive with 16 points, but he needed 18 shots to get there, and his four assists were offset by three turnovers.
Russell is in the midst of one of his shooting valleys, as he is hitting just 36.7 percent overall and 30.3 percent from 3-point range since going off for 32 points on 13-of-19 shooting in Brooklyn’s Dec. 16 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
On the year, he’s now at 41.4 percent overall — matching last season’s career-best — and 35.8 percent from deep, the best mark of his career. He’s also at career-high paces for scoring (17.5 points per game) and assists (6.2 per game).
But as Dinwiddie has gotten much more aggressive off the dribble drive, Russell is going to the basket less, averaging just 1.8 free throw attempts per game — a career-low — this season.
In 13 games this month, Russell has just 12 attempts from the line, with four of those coming Sunday against the Phoenix Suns.
It’s something to put a pin in and watch over the coming days and weeks.