There were three guards I remember teasing in the comment sections of Razzball’s preseason posts back in September/October. The first was Mike Conley, the second was Kyle Lowry and Jared Dudley was third. Why? Are you asking me why I taunted these three or why I remember it? And before you clarify, understand that a) I’m only going to answer one of those two questions, 2) This is a one-way conversation and I won’t hear whatever it is you yell at your computer screen, and c) you didn’t even notice that I went a) then 2) then c), did you? Conley had just gone from an underachiever to an overpaid underachiever, Lowry looked to be stuck with Aaron Brooks purloining his minutes all season and Dudley was fifth on Phoenix’s SG/SF depth chart just hoping to earn five dunks before April. So this is me tossing crow into the deep fryer, pulling it out with tongs and spritzing it with lemon in preparation of eating it. There is a case to be made that no crow should be eaten without a spritz of lemon, just as there is a case to be made that Dudley’ll do-right for fantasy owners in 2011.
So what makes Jared a do-right man, Aretha? Besides leading the Suns in 3PT%, STL and games played, Dudley saw a sharp increase in most of his counting stats along with a career-high 26.1 mpg. Frankly, he was the only two-guard all season that neither left the team nor sucked. If it wasn’t for November, where he only averaged 17.7 mpg, dude’s season would have looked morelike 13/4/2, with 3 3ptm+stl than the 11/4/1, 2.5 3ptm+stl his season total left him with. Since his exodus from Charlotte in ’08, Dudley has always been viewed as a very talented player able to hold his own in this league. Not a killer persay, not a superstar, but someone who could easily average, well, 13/4/2 per night. Dudley will be 26 in 2011, and if he hasn’t hit his peak already, he’s no more than a season away from doing so. But Jason Richardson is gone, Vince Carter’s skills are receding worse than LeBron’s hairline and there’s a good chance Dudley’s 15/6/2, 3.8 3ptm+stl April was enough to propel him to a starting gig, or at least 30+ mpg, next season. His FT% is sub-par for a guard sinking 42 percent of his threes, but he’s solid everywhere else and isn’t likely to be drafted before the 120th pick in the draft. I like him for 14/4/2, 3 3ptm+stl next season, which you’ll accept in the late round and ask no further questions.