2010 NBA Draft Grades: Golden State Warriors Miss With Ekpe Udoh
The Golden State Warriors haven’t exactly been a contender recently. They’ve been stockpiling talent for years now, and they hoped to do more of the same on draft day.
When I say talent, I mean offensive talent. The Cubs have won a World Series more recently than this franchise has played defense.
But boy can they ball. Stephen Curry, Monta Ellis, and the Warriors can score with the best of them, and they throw so many alley-oops that it’s almost expected that they dunk on each possession.
The Bay Area must have been abuzz last night. The Warriors have so many rising stars and had a great chance to add a solid low post player they desperately needed.
So who did they draft?
He’s the highest player ever drafted from Baylor, and possibly the best player to play down in Waco since Bill Menefee’s coaching days.
Everyone Google that name at once.
Why don’t we examine Udoh a little closer, though. Yes, he had been skyrocketing on many draft boards, but is he perfect for Golden State?
With The Sixth Pick, The Warriors Select Ekpe Udoh.
Despite sounding like a tasty noodle dish, there is nothing soggy about Udoh’s game.
In his first season at Baylor, he averaged nearly a double-double, leading the Bears to the Elite Eight.
Sounds like a good fit in the Bay, as Andris Biedrins and Anthony Randolph need all the help they can get on the glass.
But that’s not why he was brought in. The Warriors allowed opponents to score more than 112 points per game on 48.5 percent shooting.
They were essentially betting on a coin flip every time the other team shot.
That’s just sad.
But Udoh has the talent to help bolster the frontcourt. He put up nearly four blocks per game as a Bear, and is heading to a team that averaged 4.2 per game last year.
If that number doesn’t go up with Udoh manning the middle, I’m buying Ron Artest a lifetime supply of Hennessey.
Udoh also has a massive wingspan, which will help alter a lot of shots. He is a bit foul-prone, but if he can calm down and control his game, the Warriors could easily have one of the best defensive rookies around.
What I Would Have Done.
All of that being said, would I have taken Udoh if I was Chris Cohan?
No, because Udoh enters into a system where if you aren’t running to push the ball, you are on the bench. Curry and Ellis want to shoot more in a single season than Karl Malone did in his entire career.
And since Ellis shoots away about as often as Dick Cheney, he sets the tone for the whole team.
Now you have guys who aren't be qualified to shoot grapes into an ocean firing away. If Udoh catches on, the Commodores can make a remix called “They A Brick House.”
You might ask what I would do with this pick. Two words: Greg Monroe.
He was the most skilled big man available at the sixth slot, and has the game to contribute immediately. But most importantly, he won’t be running every possession, so the game slows down and they can set their defense.
Also, they needed a center. Biedrins is only one on the roster, and he is injury prone. Udoh is a power forward, and he is now the third-best one on their team after Randolph and Brandan Wright.
Boo helping your team! Hooray insurance!
What Was the Worst Scenario?
While Udoh wasn’t a horrible choice, he was close to it.
That said, he’s not Alfalfa stand-in Gordon Hayward, so at least the Warriors won out there.
But the worst thing Golden State could have done was draft small. The already have Ellis, Curry, Watson, and more perimeter scoring than necessary. It’s a shock they haven’t traded some of it to get a legitimate interior player.
Well, unless Dan Gadzuric is legitimate.
Or interior. Or a player.
There was an overload of big men available at this pick, and the fact the Warriors stuck with the trend was smart. Udoh was not the guy I would have taken, but if they took Hayward, let’s just say they’d be in better lottery position next year.
Although, Hayward’s girlfriend was a dime. Even Kevin Durant was checking her out.
What Was the Best Scenario?
Well, I think the picture says it all as far as who I think would have best-case scenario.
Sadly, it’s Monroe losing to the powerhouse that is Ohio.
Sure, it would have been great if DeMarcus Cousins and his super-suave suit dropped to number six. He would have anchored down that team, and added another wacky personality to the bunch.
And by great, I mean awful. We are fielding an NBA team, not an Animaniacs reunion.
Monroe has the level-headed mindset that could turn the Warriors around. Flash and flair is nice, but winning is better. That starts with a calm, collected leader.
And if Ellis is my leader? Fuhgeddaboutit.
They needed a center beyond belief, and got another lanky power forward in Udoh. Monroe has the bulk necessary to rough up some Western Conference bigs, while Udoh needs to hit the weight room.
But make sure to take the Athletics with you!
Draft Grade: D-
While it may sound like from all my ranting that this pick should be an F, I raised it slightly for a reason.
The Warriors aren’t changing any time soon.
The mindset in Oakland is to push, push, and push some more. They don’t play defense, and haven’t in quite some time. The roster they have in place isn’t built for the halfcourt, and the moves they’ve made haven’t helped.
Not that I like this strategy. Even the Suns have focused on defense.
If only a little.
Udoh may not be a prolific scorer one-on-one, but he can be a great trailer on the break, or someone to throw down a slamma-jamma. They have tons of people that are already capable of this, so the pick doesn’t make sense. But as a player, Udoh can still succeed.
That being said, I’m still selling tickets to the Greg Monroe Fan Club.
It seemed like this draft could have been a place to shift the focus of the team. The Warriors style of play isn’t championship caliber, and they need a mentality check if they want to return to the playoffs.
But considering Swiss cheese stops a rhinoceros more often than the Warriors stop their opponents, it’s going to take a while to turn it around.