Dudley has had playoff stints since, including with the Brooklyn Nets last season, but never quite this opportunity. And such a chance required sacrifice.
Dudley wasn’t going to play much. He was going to have to serve as veteran presence, cheerleader, and mentor in the locker room. Dudley knows the game, has his stripes, and has gained respect from his teammates for his advice and basketball acumen.
This season is the next step to Dudley’s goal of being an NBA head coach or general manager. He’s enjoying the run, being teammates with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, being part of a team that has one collective championship goal, blending with players from his era Dwight Howard, JaVale McGee, and Rajon Rondo.
“For me, it’s what I wanted. I envisioned it the last couple of years,” he said. “I wanted to get a taste for my future job of being a coach or GM, of how a championship team goes about it. Through dealing with egos, superstars, ups and downs, how coaches in-game adjust, how Bron and AD think, their mentality.”
The Lakers are stacked with talent and veterans at every position. The club added J.R. Smith and Dion Waiters for depth, and they have barely played here in the bubble. Dudley has played a total of 29 minutes in eight games, but his road to a potential championship is nothing new. A slew of veteran players on the back nine have accepted a chance to play with a title contender to cap their career with a ring.
For Dudley, it’s a means to an end. It’s year 13 of what he hopes is 15, before he swaps the uniform for a suit and tie.
“It’s an easy adjustment, because you have to know a sense of your worth and your