Ryan McDonough shrewdly steered clear of the early hours of free agency where teams like the Los Angeles Lakers reigned supreme by throwing $60 million over four years at one Timofey Mozgov, who might not even have a healthy knee anymore. (I am kidding Laker fans. Kind of.)
Twitter haymakers were thrown between bewildered fans and national pundits, striking an exhausting battle of wits that will assuringly go on for the duration of the summer.
Mike Conley got how much? He doesn't deserve that, bro.
There are now 102849480 players that make more money than Stephen Curry.
Blah, blah, blah. We get it. The cap has been going up (maybe even on a Tuesday), and the contracts we have seen over the last few days are just the nature of the beast. This is the way the league has been structured under the current CBA, and madness was always going to be the outcome.
After a quiet day and a half, the Suns finally made waves by agreeing to a 3-year/$30 million deal with Jared Dudley on the heels of losing Mirza Teletovic to the Milwaukee Bucks under a contract with the same terms. At this point in time, the league values Dudley and Teletovic as essentially the same even though they are different. This left a choice for the front office to make: Opt for the nurturing presence and headiness of Dudley, or the better all around player in Teletovic?
At this stage of his career, nothing about Dudley's game is going to make you leap out of your seat. Lumbering is a kind way to describe his play in Washington last season, looking half as explosive as he did during his time in Phoenix. (And he wasn't exactly explosive in Phoenix.)
Rather than toggling between the three and the four spot, Dudley's destiny is to be slotted primarily at the four. Corralling the athletic super freaks along the wing is too hefty of a chore after the slew of injuries he has endured, including back surgery last summer.
On offense, Dudley is more of a spot-up marksmen -- he shot 42 percent from three last year -- instead of an off the dribble maestro. There are few defenders he will be able to dribble by, if any at all:
But of course, that is fine. The Suns know what they are getting -- Dudley has never been one to paralyze the rim with thunderous drives. His strong suit is as a floor spacer with a deadly catch and shoot game, and that should mesh well with the torpedoing guards Phoenix already has in place. A whopping 72 percent of Dudley's shot attempts were of the catch and shoot domain last season, per NBA.com tracking data.
For comparison's sake: Teletovic only had 60 percent of his attempts categorize as "catch and shoot," showing that he has less reliance on his teammates to create shots. On the other hand, Teletovic attempted more shots per game than Dudley during a lost Suns season where his number was called on offense way more than anticipated.
Quite simply, Teletovic is the more skilled offensive player right now. He set a record for most 3-pointers made off of the bench last season, uses his size to abuse lesser skilled defenders in the post, and can be lethal off the ball coming around screens. Needless to say, Dudley can not pull off a move like this:
But that's the thing with choosing Dudley over Teletovic: The decision does not have the appearance of being about on-court gains. In the aggregate, and from a talent standpoint, Teletovic is the player that you would rather have in your system. Yet McDonough had the foresight to seek out Dudley as the perfect stop-gap four to man the post for a season or two before passing the baton over to either Dragan Bender or Marquese Chriss and getting the hell out of the way.
Suns wanted someone who could start for a year or year 1/2 while Bender & Chriss develop then go to bench - Dudley perfect for that role— John Gambadoro (@Gambo987) July 2, 2016
The presence Dudley will have in the locker room will be incalculable, and he will bear the brunt of being a vocal leader (along with Tyson Chandler) when Eric Bledsoe does not want to assume that burden. On a far lesser degree, he can be a James Jones-like figure for the Suns heading into next season and beyond.
Plus, the fan base is JUICED to have JMZ back. For all of the social currency Teletovic gained with his play during his stint in Phoenix, his resigning would have never garnered the enthusiasm that Dudley received yesterday.
Welcome home, Duds.