SALT LAKE CITY -- Lester Hudson is so close to the NBA he can almost taste it, which is good because the Utah Jazz training camp invitee doesn't really have exotic tastes.
The 29-year-old guard, who was a second-round draft pick of the Boston Celtics in 2009 and later had stints with Memphis, Washington and Cleveland over two season, recently spent time playing in a Chinese league where he averaged 33.6 points and nearly 40 minutes a game.
But he admits he wasn't too adventurous when it came to the food.
"I just stuck with the American food," he said. "They had a lot of funky dinner and breakfast but I never touched it."
Now back in the U.S., Hudson has a good shot to make the Jazz's opening night roster. At 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds he's a hybrid guard who is big enough to play shooting guard but can also run the point, which he did for 27 minutes during Wednesday's 99-92 loss to Portland.
"He's great. The first couple of games he didn't play the minutes he wanted to play," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "He kept working, stayed focused and when he got his opportunity he made the most of it. I thought he played very well for us."
Hudson's opportunity came largely because of an injury to first-round draft pick Trey Burke, the Jazz's starting point guard.
Burke fractured his right index finger on Oct. 12 and underwent surgery on Tuesday and will miss the start of the regular season. That opened the door for Hudson, who was the No. 4 point guard in camp behind Burke, John Lucas III and Scott Machado.
Corbin said he wanted to see how Hudson played with the Jazz's main contingent of players so he kept Machado on the bench and gave the veteran Lucas only 21 minutes.
Hudson responded well with good defense and nine points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals. He was Utah's best 3-point shooter, hitting 3-of-4 behind the arc.
"He knows the moment," Corbin said. "He understood that when he got a chance to get on the floor he (needed to be ready to play). I thought he played a very aggressive game on both ends of the floor."
Though he has some NBA experience on his resume, Hudson came to the Jazz as a camp invitee with a training camp contract. The Jazz like to have at least four point guards in camp and as it turned out, Hudson was the last player to receive an invitation.
After Wednesday's game he said he hopes to be the last player to arrive at camp and the last one to make the regular-season roster.
"Hopefully I'll be the last guy still here," he said.
Corbin said that's certainly a possibility.
"None of these guys are here by fault," he said. "These guys are working, they deserve to be here."
Hudson said he felt badly for Burke but also saw it as an opportunity to earn a spot on the roster.
"You don't want to wish anything on anybody, Trey is a great kid, a great player - he'll be a great player in this league," Hudson said. "I'm sorry for what happened to him but doors open. When my opportunity (came) I just wanted to play as hard as I can."
Utah's roster is full of players in their early 20s, including Burke, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. At 29, Hudson is practically an elder statesman with some NBA experience as well as time spent in China. It was there he crossed paths with Lucas.
"Of course I remember playing against John," he said. "We were both scorers so we used to go at it all the time."
Hudson said he liked China but doesn't want to go back, not because of the country but because he wants to be in the NBA.
"It would be great for me to stay here, so that's why I'm working so hard," he said.
The Jazz are next in action Sunday at Oklahoma City. The regular season begins Oct. 30 at home against the Thunder.
Contact reporter Jim Burton at 801-625-4265, email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @jmb247.