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Dudley is one of eight members of the 2018-19 Nets team (and an integral piece of setting the culture for last season’s Nets) who now wear a different jersey, after Brooklyn went all-in on star power (Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant joined the team over the summer). The 13-year veteran — who joined LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers on a one-year deal over the summer — says he’s not surprised with how the Nets’ underwhelming season has unfolded.
“Not surprised because for one, there’s no KD. You have Kyrie coming into the fold of that. [Caris LeVert] is out 25 games. You have a whole different team, a different infrastructure,” Dudley said ahead of the Nets’ Thursday matchup against the Lakers. “All the culture, but look at the Miami Heat — they kept the culture of their vets. Even though their team might be more talented, they don’t have the glue guys and the culture-setters in the locker room, and that takes a while.”
“So once KD comes back, he’ll [help] win, but just because you win doesn’t mean you’re a culture-setter. We’re trying to set a culture [on the Lakers], and usually that’s your vets letting you know in practice, after people do press conferences, in film rooms. And that’s where the organization starts it, but the organization can’t control it. It’s in the locker room.”
The Nets traded culture for star power when they traded D’Angelo Russell to the Warriors in exchange for Durant, who came to Brooklyn in tandem with Irving, DeAndre Jordan and Garrett Temple. Dudley said he knew Irving was coming to Brooklyn and feels this challenge will help cement legacies for a pair of stars who have yet to win a championship they can call their own.
“I knew Kyrie. You knew these guys were BFFs, they’d want to go everywhere. You knew it’d be good, and for one, I can understand that,” Dudley said. “[Irving] had LeBron, and [Durant] had Steph Curry, and you give them credit for those championships, but it wouldn’t be the same like if they won here in Brooklyn.
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