Washington Wizards forward Jared Dudley is new to town, but not professional sports. The NBA veteran understands locker room dynamics, as evidenced by his take on the dugout fracas involving Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper and Jonathan Pabelbon.
Don't touch the superstar.
The Wizards acquired Dudley from the Milwaukee Bucks this offseason to help their starry backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal move beyond the Eastern Conference semifinal round. At the team's media day Monday, he discussed several topics including his role for the Wizards -- and what unfolded Sunday afternoon at Nats Park.
"I think anytime you're with teammates, you've seen that over the course of the year. I always tell (people), rule number one: Even if the franchise player is wrong, you never touch the franchise," Dudley said. "[It would be] like me touching John Wall." Dudley smiled and added, "Even if I did, it wouldn't be with the cameras on."
"It's an unfortunate situation for [the Nationals]. The good thing about it is those are two big time star players. Hope they can work through it. But, yeah, you never touch the superstar."
Part of the excitement surrounding Washington this season involves a deeper roster even with the loss of playoff hero Paul Pierce, who signed with the Los Angeles Clippers this summer. The additions of Dudley, swingman Alan Anderson, wing guard Gary Neal and first round pick Kelly Oubre Jr. provide coach Randy Wittman with more options on the perimeter and scoring punch off the bench. Along with holdover Wall, Gortat, Bradley Beal, Nene and Otto Porter, those pieces also mean more potential lineup combinations for any matchup scenario.
"Obviously you want to go to the conference finals. [To do] that means dealing with LeBron [James] and Cleveland," said Dudley, referring to the NBA Finalist and current East favorite Cavaliers. "What [the Wizards] did this year is bring a lot of versatility. They can go with big lineups. When you play Chicago you have Nene. Myself, I'll be able to score a little more as a stretch-4, spacing it out. Gary Neal, Alan Anderson, guys you can throw out off the bench.
"I thought last year their bench wasn't their strong suit. That's what I'm trying to hopefully bring to this team. When the bench comes in, it comes in with a different attitude."
That's attitude, not Natitude. That means picking your spots and not picking fights with teammates -- and certainly not with the franchise player.