The basketball Gods haven’t been kind to the Clippers small forward position.
While Matt Barnes is out for two weeks with an eye injury, starting forward Jared Dudley is dealing with tendinitis in his right knee.
“It tightens up sometimes, soit’s hard for me to bend my knees on a shot or when I’m running.”
Excuses are often looked for when deciding which factor to look at when a player is struggling, but this lingering knee issue could be the reason why Jared Dudley has gotten off to a slow start. In 13 games played this season, Dudley has averaged 7.2 points per game, which would be his lowest scoring output since the 2009-10 season. He’s also shooting a career-low 43 percent from the field and 31 percent from behind the arc.
Looking at Dudley’s defense, it’s no surprise that he’s been dealing with an injury. During his days as a Phoenix Sun, Dudley earned a reputation as a do-whatever-you-need type player. This season he’s been the culprit behind many defensive breakdowns allowing his man to easily get to the middle of the floor and attack the paint or hit an open man.
With Dudley on the floor the Clippers have posted a net rating of -.3. Off the floor? That number jumps to 5.6 due to a jump in the offensive rating due to Jamal Crawford being on the floor in place of Dudley.
Since the preseason Doc Rivers has thought that Dudley was playing too many minutes and reiterates the same sentiment 13 games into the season.
“We don’t have another small forward. We’re going to junk the game up or do something or Reggie [Bullock] is going to have to play more. The bottom line is that’s just too many minutes for Jared right now.”
Matt Barnes recently suffered an eye injury that will sideline him for two weeks which has thrusted Reggie Bullock into the rotation ahead of Willie Green. His play has been impressive on the defensive end, but he’s struggled on offense, shooting 5 for 18 so far in his rookie season. Ask noted above, to preserve Dudley’s health, Bullock’s playing time may increase to the 18 minutes per game range.
Dudley will continue to play with the injury, but he realizes if he has to sit down for the team to improve he’ll consider it.
“It’s gotten better. At one point I didn’t know if it was. I was thinking about sitting down. You try to do what’s best for the team. You don’t want to hurt them, you want to help them.”
Quotes via Clippers.com