Where Jared Dudley came from, after having lower back surgery in the offseason, his play has been better than the Wizards could've expected. They essentially landed him for nothing, via trade exception as the Milwaukee Bucks were trying to unload salary.
Dudley has started 33 of the 50 games that he has played, slotting as the "stretch" power forward instead of Nene or Kris Humphries. Humphries started initially and has had issues with his right knee and matching up with quicker players at the position. When the injury bug was at its worst, Dudley, at 6-7, even logged time in the middle and the Wizards were successful.
The stats: 8.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.1 apg, 48.6% FG, 46.6% 3pt FG
Offensive rating (points scored per 100 possessions): 104.2
Defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions): 104.5
Net rating: minus-0.2.
Until recently, the Wizards were on the plus side with Dudley. The overall rebounding will suffer -- just as it did when Humphries started -- because the "stretch" option runs to the three-point line and not the basket. They can compensate with the pace-and-space style because Dudley is a matchup problem for opponents. The ball moves better. The Wizards' offense is ninth in the NBA in scoring (102.7), fifth in three-point shooting (36.2%) and fourth in pace (100.19)
Aside from Dudley's liabilities, being undersized and not as athletic as a lot of players he defends, imagine where the Wizards would be without him. It's about more than his accuracy from deep but he is the voice of reason and the one who does a lot to quarterback the defense when they're out of position (which is often). Dudley also isn't afraid to say they're waiting too long to make adjustments with their coverages. He may not be Nene, who has started the last few years at power forward next to Gortat, but the Wizards were 1-3 with that experiment this season. Dudley has maximized every ounce of ability he has to help right the ship. He makes the correct rotations. He sees the floor correctly. When John Wall left Langston Galloway wide open for a three-point look that could've tied the score at the buzzer against the N.Y. Knicks before the break, who was the player to recognize the mistake and try to run over to cover for it? Dudley. That the Wizards haven't gotten their act together has nothing to do with his shortcomings.