Mar. 16, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard-forward Jared Dudley during game against the Detroit Pistons at the US Airways Center. The Suns defeated the Pistons 109-101. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Jared Dudley? Is That You?

Oct. 31, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns forward Jared Dudley (3) is guarded by the Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) during the first half at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE

Five games into the season, and five games Jared Dudley has struggled. Dudley who was pretty much the unofficial leader of this new-look Suns team heading into the 2012-2013 season hasn’t been the Jared Dudley we’ve all been accustomed to seeing.

Throughout the first five games of the season JYD has averaged a mere 6.8 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists but most importantly just flat out awful shooting percentages, shooting 34% overall from the field, and just 22% from behind the 3-point line.

Looking back on the stat sheets, Dudley hasn’t had a stretch this bad since his bench days. Now Dudley has never been a 20 a game scorer but he’s always been super-efficient which is reflected in his shooting percentages the last 3 seasons, making on average 47% of all his field goal attempts including shooting 42% on his threes. So what’s going on? Well a few things.

We all thought that Marcin Gortat would be the one to miss Steve Nash the most; well evidently it’s actually Jared Dudley. Dudley thrived off of Nash’s drive and kick passes because Nash drew so much attention and Dudley more often than not would be left wide open to take the jumper; that’s a luxury he no longer has.

Another factor that’s being in play is Michael Beasley who is a more shot demanding offensive player than Grant Hill was. Consider this, Beasley has averaged nearly 16 shot attempts per game through the first 5 games, while Hill averaged only 9.5 shot attempts a game during his 5 seasons in a Suns uniform. Dudley’s shot attempts has gone down from 9.9 last season to 7.6 so far however he’s averaging 3.6 3-point attempts a game which is the highest in his career.

Finally the last thing and probably the most important thing is Dudley’s shooting mechanics. Does anyone recall last season during a stretch when Dudley was absolutely miserable from the foul line?

Well take a look at this, Dudley from the foul-line last season shot a solid 81% in the 1st 33 games last season however in the final 33 games Dudley shot a mere 65%; Dudley shot 57% from the foul-line in April. Many people may overlook that but a 16% difference in free throw percentage isn’t something to sneeze at, and a good shooter like Dudley, percentages doesn’t fall off like that, especially not from the foul-line unless it’s a direct effect from poor mechanics.

March 10, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns small forward Jared Dudley (3) shoots the ball against the Memphis Grizzlies during the third quarter at the US Airways Center. The Suns defeated the Grizzlies 98-91. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Dudley is terrific shooter, we all know that. The issue is right now there may be a slight error in his mechanics which could ultimately be the reason for his struggles. Wouldn’t be 1st player to have that problem, just ask Goran Dragic.

Jared Dudley needs to start knocking down his shots and whatever the problem may be, whether it’s his mechanics, or something else. The Suns are ranked 23rd in 3-point percentage shooting an awful 30% on the season, and the Suns are tied for the 21st worst in 3-pointers made, making only 6 a game.

Now all of that isn’t because of only Dudley but the whole team however it begins with Dudley since he’s taken on the role as the leader of the Suns. Again, this is the first time Dudley has played without Steve Nash since his arrival in Phoenix, and this isn’t an indictment to Goran Dragic but it’s going to take a little time getting used to. But at the same time Dudley is still getting looks, and it’s up to him to make his shots.


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