Clippers guard J.J. Redick is launching a podcast with Yahoo's new basketball website The Veritical. For its inaugural edition, Redick interviewed Wizards forward (and former teammate) Jared Dudley.
The pair talked about countless topics over the course of an hour, but Dudley's most interesting comments came after Redick asked him to explain Washington's inconsistent play.
Dudley, who called a players-only meeting last Thursday, attributed the Wizards' ups and downs to two fairly obvious issues: A new identity and key injuries.
“I think the inconsistency early on was, first you have to mesh any time you bring a new team together and new pieces -- Gary Neal, myself, Alan Anderson," he said.
"[The Wizards] basically changed their style. They were two bigs and they wanted to go small-ball, that’s why they traded for me." He then used Kris Humphries' transition to shooting 3s as an example of Washington emphasizing analytics and asking its players to learn new things.
But Dudley didn't take long to bring up the Wizards' injury situation, specifically Bradley Beal missing extended time.
"You lose Bradley Beal, who at the beginning of the season, you could not have told me he wasn't going to be an All-Star," Dudley said. "He was right there neck-and-neck with John Wall. He was averaging 24 points; he's super athletic."
"[Beal] being out is a huge void because, when you go small-ball, sometimes teams want to switch ... You have to have one guy that says, 'Hey, I'm better than you. You cannot guard me by yourself.' And we don't really have that."
"Bradley Beal is that X-factor for us. You can put your best defender on. We're going to screen and roll, and when you switch, he's a one-on-one killer. And that's something we do not have."
It's interesting that Dudley singled out Beal, not Wall, as the hardest to guard one-on-one. While the speedy Wall gets some of the best dribble penetration in the league, he can't match Beal's pure shooting ability, especially from 3-point territory.
And even though Beal and the Wizards are getting healthier, that won't automatically translate to success.
"Now we're starting to get healthy, Brad [Beal] is back and now it's like hey, what team are we? Are we two bigs, are we pace-and-space? Are we going to be consistent? That's where we're at right now," Dudley said.
"We're back and forth between small-ball and two bigs. Brad's coming back in the game, he's our sixth man now instead of starting because of his minutes restriction."
So where does that leave Washington's postseason hopes? Dicey, according to Dr. Dudley.
"I do believe our next 40 games we'll have a better record, but that being said, that's not guaranteed for a playoff spot because, you see, in the East everyone's close."
Dudley's comments echo a lot of what's been written about the Wizards' struggles, but hearing it from a veteran leader at least solidifies that thinking, if not the solution.