Jared Dudley has switched teams five times in his 10-year career. He’s played with stars like John Wall, Blake Griffin, and, now, Devin Booker. On the latest Ringer NBA Show, he sat down with Chris Vernon to discuss why Booker is a superstar in the making and what the difference is between stars and superstars.
Listen to the full podcast here. This transcription has been edited and condensed.
Devin Booker Is Almost a Top-Five Shooting Guard
Jared Dudley: Booker has the potential to be a top-two or top-three shooting guard in the NBA. Where obviously you have [James] Harden, Klay [Thompson], C.J. McCollum, Bradley Beal. Those are the top four. Maybe I might be missing one in there.
Chris Vernon: [DeMar] DeRozan. He’s up there.
Dudley: DeRozan, for sure. Yes, he is. That’s five. Those are the top five right now.
See the thing about Book is, when it comes to offensive scoring ability, he’s right there, when it comes to those bottom-three guys. Obviously Harden is in a different class right now, but the thing about Booker is he can score from [all] levels. And all three of [those other guys] can’t. DeRozan’s not a 3-point shooter. Booker can shoot from 3, he can post up, he has midrange, he does the pick-and-roll. Those are [the] dimensions he has right now.
For someone who is not even 21, he punishes people down on the block, which I didn’t know he could do. I knew he could shoot, I knew that. [The last] thing for him to then [join] that group, that elite class, [is] his defense needs to pick up. And that takes time knowing the league, knowing coverages, and knowing he’s not the most athletic guy. Like Klay Thompson, playing angles, playing smart. That’s something where you’re hoping from Year 2, Year 3, that’s usually where your biggest [defensive] gain happens.
Vernon: So you think he can be one of the top five shooting guards in the NBA?
Dudley: For sure.
What’s the Difference Between a Superstar and a Star?
Chris Vernon: What is different about the stars and the superstars?
Jared Dudley: So, John Wall is a star. For him to be a superstar, you have to do all the little things. I think now, after he’s had a couple of surgeries, he knows you’ve got to take care of your body like no other. Like, Steve [Nash], Grant [Hill], even [Chris Paul] to a certain extent, you’ve got to take care of your body. It’s not his fault that he’s had surgeries, but I’m talking about … just staying healthy. You don’t gotta be swole and all that. Steve wasn’t, he was cut up but he wasn’t like [Russell] Westbrook out there.
Then you got to think of, “Hey, what are your flaws?” So [Wall’s] is his jump shot. He’s improved it dramatically —
Vernon: But if he became a 38 percent 3-point shooter, he’s best-player-in-the-league stuff.
Dudley: So how do you improve that? Those are the superstars. To me, Nash was a superstar because offensively, he had no flaws. He was the best shooter, his layup package was crazy, he had hook shots, floaters, around the back, 3s, free throws, he shot technical fouls. His whole thing was defensively, OK, we have to help him out. Very much [like] Steph Curry.
Vernon: Do [superstars] practice more? Have you found that the best players are the hardest-working players? Or is that just something we say?
Dudley: You definitely have those few that do that. The ones that just love basketball so much. Everyone works hard, I mean, my shooting coach in San Diego, he only works out at 6 in the morning. So, it’s nothing like that. I wouldn’t want to shoot at 6 in the morning, I’d shoot at 10. But he only does it at that time, so that’s when I get my reps in with him.
Overall, yeah, I agree with that. But that’s [more] when you’re younger and you’re trying to become a star. The older you get, it’s being smarter with your workouts.