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Jared Dudley expects Giannis Antetokounmpo to be an all-star next season

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Here's a general rule about NBA podcasts: if Jared Dudley is involved, it's going to be good.

On Friday we were treated to the NBA's best podcast guest joining the NBA's best podcast host (ESPN's Zach Lowe, natch), and as expected Dudley offered his usual candor and insight in a wide-ranging discussion with Lowe, in the process touching on a couple Bucks-related topics. Most interesting was his response to a question about playing for Jason Kidd and what Lowe termed Kidd's "grouchy" demeanor, which led into a broader discussion of the Bucks' season and their young core.

"I loved playing for J-Kidd...I wouldn't say he's grouchy, I would say he gets in his moods like every coach. You get ups and downs. I would say this: (he's a) player's coach and the way he thinks is like a player. Because he played. And he tells you that. I played power forward and when Jabari got hurt he said, 'Hey Jared, I'm not going to leave you on an island.' He would let me guard (LaMarcus) Aldridge (but say), 'When Aldridge gets there we're going to trap the hell out of him. I got you.'"

"I think this year, just the personnel with the Bucks, they brought in someone like Greg Monroe, a great dominating player down low. But they hung their hat on defense (last year), getting out on the break. I will say this, if they bring the right free agents in there, because they'll have cap space, they need a couple shooters, a couple vets...they'll be back in the playoffs. Because they've got someone like Jabari and Giannis. Giannis should be an all-star next year."

"Khris Middleton might be the overall best scorer, but it's Giannis' team. It's Giannis' team. You're only going to go as far as him. Once Jabari takes that next step -- he was a lot better second half than he was first -- but as of right now, people have to know this is Giannis' team. You fall in line to try to make people better around him.

"If you see J-Kidd, he was strict on Giannis when I was there. He was on Giannis more than anybody, because he knew. And now he's given Giannis the keys."

Could Dudley be one of those free agent veteran shooters the Bucks pursue? Personally I'd hope so. While Dudley's back issues played a major part in the Bucks' willingness to deal Dudley last summer, he underwent surgery after arriving in Washington and played 81 games while hitting 42% from deep for the Wizards. The Bucks' unwillingness to offer him a new deal last summer likely didn't go over too well, but Dudley was also outspoken in his praise for the organization after they made sure to get him to a destination where he could play significant minutes. Dudley told Lowe last summer he "could play for the Bucks anytime," so you have to think he'd welcome the opportunity if the price was right.

In theory, Washington also has less of a need for Dudley with Markieff Morris arriving at the deadline and Kelly Oubre pushing for more wing minutes behind Otto Porter. It doesn't mean that the Wiz won't want Dudley back, but you could make the case that the Bucks could potentially offer Dudley a pretty compelling role that fits well for both sides. While Giannis, Jabari and Middleton have the starting two through four spots locked down, Dudley can play with any combination of those three and is certainly better than any backup wing or combo forward the Bucks have on their roster currently. Add in his terrific locker room presence and defensive intangibles -- we know the Bucks missed those last year -- and the case for pursuing him seems rather clear. Depending on the Bucks' appetite for bigger name free agents and confidence in Dudley's physical well-being, a two- or even three-year deal worth something in the ballpark of $7-8 million annually could (maybe) work for everyone. It just so happens we have a new "offseason game plan" podcast (recorded last week) that actually touches on that very topic, so look for it Monday or Tuesday.

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