Golden State Warriors: 3 Reasons Ekpe Udoh Should Start over Andris Biedrins

Eric HeContributor IIFebruary 22, 2012

Golden State Warriors: 3 Reasons Ekpe Udoh Should Start over Andris Biedrins

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    Warriors center Ekpe Udoh may have just gotten his lucky break. Selected sixth overall in the 2010 NBA Draft, Udoh struggled during his rookie season, hampered by injuries. He averaged 4.1 points and 1.5 blocks in 58 games during the 2010-2011 campaign.

    His sophomore campaign has proven to be much better. Udoh has been one of the Warriors' most consistent bench players, or "Dubstitutes," as fans like to call them. His numbers are up in almost every category, and he has seemingly found his role on this team as a backup center.

    Until now. With struggling starting center Andris Biedrins out with "flu-like symptoms," Udoh started against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday, and had the best game of his career. His finishing stat line: 19 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks. 

    Now fans can start to ponder on whether or not Udoh will be their starting center. When asked about it after the game, Warriors coach Mark Jackson stopped short of guaranteeing a starting spot for Udoh, "I will take my time and assess our basketball team, and we'll move forward. But he certainly is a guy, when the opportunity presented itself, to command more minutes."

    Read on, as we do our own assessment of the following opinion: Ekpe Udoh should start over Andris Biedrins as the Warriors' center. 

3. Udoh Is One of the Only Options

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    Besides rookie center Jeremy Tyler, Udoh is the only center on the roster who is not injured. Tyler is raw, and still needs time to develop in the NBA. It is not likely that Mark Jackson will start him at center anytime soon.

    Pictured above is Kwame Brown, who appears to be out for the season with a knee injury. Brown was a great rebounder that provided size and depth for the Warriors, and it is unfortunate that he is hurt.

    So that leaves us with Andris Biedrins and Ekpe Udoh. Biedrins is the more experienced center, who has started for the Warriors for multiple years, but Udoh is clearly the better choice over Biedrins right now.

    More on that on the next slide....

2. The Only Other Option Is Andris Biedrins

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    There used to be a time when Andris Biedrins was decent. I mean, decent enough to earn a monster contract of six years, $63 million. Biedrins averaged 12 points and 11 rebounds a game during the 2008-2009 season. As far-fetched as it may seem now, Andris Biedrins was a walking double-double.

    Andris Biedrins, a walking double-double. Say that to a Warrior fan today, and you might get laughed at. 

    Biedrins is having the worst season of his career, averaging just two points per game. He has not scored in the double-digits since the season opener, and has definitely not lived up to expectations.

    It seems as if, at times, he is simply lost out there on the court. His only asset, if you can even call it that, is that he is seven feet tall and grabs rebounds. But he does not want any part of this team offensively. His free-throwing, which is his main Achilles' heel, has plummeted. He is one-for-five this season from the charity stripe (that's 20 percent). Why has he only shot five free throws in 25 games played? Warriors broadcaster Jim Barnett has referenced several times on broadcasts and radio shows that Biedrins is "scared to shoot because is afraid that he will get fouled and have to shoot free throws." (If you have not seen him shoot a free-throw, it isn't pretty.)

    In fact, there was a time that Biedrins actually led the NBA in field-goal percentage, at 62 percent, during the 2007-2008 campaign. Oh, the Warriors' can only wish to have the Andris of old back again. Now, all they have is a no-use, $10.5 million dollar center who contributes nothing and is afraid to shoot the basketball.

    So now, we've narrowed the playing field down to Ekpe Udoh: the young, up-and-coming center who deserves a starting role with the Golden State Warriors. 

1. Give Udoh a Chance!

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    Face it—Ekpe Udoh is the only plausible option for the Warriors' at center. Andris Biedrins' lack of productivity has given Udoh the opportunity to shine—and he has.

    Now, could Udoh just be a one-game wonder? Possibly. But how would anyone know if he does not get the same, or even more playing time as he did on Monday against the Clippers? We know that he wasn't drafted to score, but a team does not draft a player sixth overall just to see him to come off the bench.

    Udoh averages 2.5 blocks per game, and could one day develop into one of the premier defensive players in the league. What's more, he's leading the team in plus-minus rating at plus-23. (Plus-minus rating is the amount of points that a player's team scores or allows while he is on the floor) Simply put, the Warriors are better off with him on the court than off the court. They need him to step up, and plug up that gaping hole that they have at the center position.  

    So, why not give him a chance at being the starting center? Udoh is their best—no, ONLY option at the center position, and it would be a shame if is not in the starting lineup against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.