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Dudley Content in Constant Upheaval

Jared Dudley’s on his fourth team in four years and in a contract year, but he’s happy in D.C.

Joel Brigham

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For as valuable as Jared Dudley always seems to be for the teams that employ him, it’s a bit surprising that he’s moved around so much over the course of the last four seasons. After four strong years in Phoenix, he looked like the kind of player that ends up playing for a single team for the bulk of his career, but that’s not how it worked out. In his three seasons since leaving the Suns, he’s donned three different uniforms.

Despite all the shifting around, Dudley has felt comfortable his last two seasons with Milwaukee and now Washington. Continuity, though, is something he feels like he needs to be the best possible version of himself.

“I’m a rhythm player,” Dudley told Basketball Insiders. “My game revolves around system, team, unselfishness. Obviously I’ve had to be healthy, though, and continue to adjust to playing a new position at power forward this year and last year. I had a great situation in Milwaukee, but I had to go between being a starter and a bench player back and forth.”

This season, he’s playing more minutes than he has since Phoenix, and he thinks that the extra playing time is having a positive effect on his offensive output, which also matches where he was at with the Suns.

“I shoot the ball better when I play more,” Dudley said. “When you get more touches, you don’t feel like you have to take as many quick shots. You can choose your spots, and of course it helps when you’re playing with an All-Star point guard like John (Wall). I haven’t had that since CP3 and [Steve] Nash, so it’s a perfect fit with this team.”

Last year in Milwaukee, Dudley had to serve as the proverbial “veteran presence in the locker room” for a young team trying to find itself. This season, though, he feels like the team is loaded with the kind of experience that could make them dangerous down the stretch, assuming everybody stays healthy.

“Gary Neal brings a lot of experience from the Spurs, and Alan Anderson also played last year in the playoffs. Our team, when healthy, is as deep and versatile as any team, and that’s something we didn’t have for a big stretch this season,” Dudley said. “In the playoffs, you’ve got to be versatile to deal with different matchups and different styles. We’re deep, so Coach [Randy Wittman] is going to have some fun figuring everything out, but that just means he’ll get to play a lot of different players and a lot of different lineups.”

The playoffs are still a few months away, and the struggling Wizards are nowhere near a sure thing to make it there, but even assuming they do get in and have the sort of successful run they did last year, there’s still no guarantee that Dudley will be back next season. His contract expires at the end of the year, meaning he could end up in a new uniform all over again next season.

However that plays out, Dudley has learned to live his life with an eye toward the future as well as toward the present, and that’s about everything, not just the basketball.

“I’ve now come to the realization that you’ve got to rent instead of buying a home,” Dudley joked. “I don’t know where I’ll be 15 years from now. I don’t know what my job is going to be, but I’ve got time, and I’m happy where I am for now.”

Joel Brigham is a senior writer for Basketball Insiders, covering the Central Division and fantasy basketball.

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2018 NBA Draft Diary

#28 – Jacob Evans – Golden State Warriors

Jesse Blancarte

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With the 28th overall pick, the Golden State Warriors selected Cincinnati Junior Jacob Evans.

Evans represents a solid pick for nearly any NBA team. Evans fits in the mold of a potential 3-and-D role player. Evans improved in his time at Cincinnati, culminating in his junior year, where he scored 13 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Evans spent three seasons at Cincinnati and rounded himself into a versatile two-way player who can bring a lot of value at the NBA level.

Evans is a very cognitive player, especially on the defensive end. He has a better grasp of his limitations than most players at this stage of their respective careers and is able to maximize his individual defensive ability within a team concept. Evans generally makes the right rotations, double-teams at the right times and funnels his opponents to where his teammates are when he cannot contain the ball-handler on his own. With the right coaching, he could become a valuable defensive wing in an NBA rotation sooner than some anticipate.

Additionally, Evans is more than just a shooter. He led his team in assists last season and has some skill as a playmaker. Evans will be more of a shooter and finisher in the NBA, but the ability to make the right pass, swing the ball when he isn’t open and take the ball off the dribble when necessary make him an intriguing prospect. This is especially true when you consider how valuable a player like Khris Middleton has become over the years, adding layers to his 3-and-D skill set each season.

The Warriors aren’t in need of an influx of talent but are happy to add Evans regardless.

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2018 NBA Draft Diary

#27 – Robert Williams III – Boston Celtics

With the 27th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics have selected Robert Williams III.

Ben Nadeau

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With the 27th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics have selected Robert Williams III.

Although there were early week rumors that the Celtics might try to trade up, they’ve ultimately elected to find a difference-maker at the end of the first round instead. For a team that nearly reached the NBA Finals despite debilitating injuries to Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving, Boston’s roster didn’t need a wholesale change on draft night. But at No. 27, they’ll be more than happy to leave with the mysterious-but-talented Williams.

Last year, Williams was viewed as a potential first-rounder before he returned to Texas A&M for his sophomore year. In 2017-18, Williams averaged 10.4 points and 9.2 rebounds on 63.2 percent from the field, fueling the Aggies to a 22-13 record. During this current pre-draft process, Williams looked poised to become a mid-first-round selection once again — but his stock faded as the big night got closer. In fact, Williams even decided to watch the draft with his family, even though he was a green room invitee.

His stock has undoubtedly dropped as of late, but this may end up being the steal of the draft — naturally, he dropped right into general manager Danny Ainge’s lap. Williams, 6-foot-10, is a freak athlete that’ll bring a new look to an already fearsome defensive unit in Boston. At A&M, Williams won back-to-back SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors and averaged 2.5 blocks per game. Of course, he’ll get the opportunity to learn from the hard-nosed Al Horford, a five-time All-Star and the defensive linchpin for Boston — a win-win situation for all.

Williams, 20, joins an extremely young core in Boston that also includes Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier and Jayson Tatum, among others.

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2018 NBA Draft Diary

#26 – Landry Shamet – Philadelphia 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers select Landry Shamet with the 26th overall pick.

Dennis Chambers

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With the 26th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select guard Landry Shamet of Wichita State.

Shamet, if he is able to fulfill his potential, should provide the Sixers with some much-needed shooting, as their rotation was noticeably starved for another deadeye sniper.

A career 43.7 percent three-point shooter, Shamet sank 44.2 percent of his shots from downtown last season, and he did so while firing nearly six attempts from deep a game. Sliding Shamet at the guard position alongside franchise point guard Ben Simmons allows for another weapon at Simmons’ disposal.

Standing at 6-foot-5 and 21 years old, Shamet has the size to play either guard spot in the NBA (especially given Philadelphia’s lengthy and versatile lineup). Along with his shooting ability, Shamet also led the American Athletic Conference with 166 assists last season. With Markelle Fultz still a question mark for Philadelphia, Shamet provides a secondary ball-handler and playmaker, whether in the starting lineup or in the reserve unit.

The first round of the 2018 NBA Draft was a whirlwind for the Sixers, and they ultimately land two guards of very separate varieties: an upside-laden athlete in Zhaire Smith, and a skillful “veteran” rookie whose skillset is established.

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