When people talk about centers in the Western conference, they say that the future is looking bright. They name many players that will become big superstars including: Yao Ming (who already is one), Andrew Bynum, Al Jefferson, Chris Kaman, and others.
However, a name never mentioned with the group is the lanky center of the Golden State Warriors, Andris Biedrins.
Biedrins almost left the NBA this off-season to sign with a club in Europe that would have offered him loads of Euros to play closer to his hometown in Latvia. Yet, he remained loyal to the Warriors' franchise and signed a six year deal, letting worried Warrior fans get some sleep at night.
It's not often that you find a center with good hands, a high basketball IQ, and one that doesn't complain about the team. Biedrins is all of that and more. He is a phenomenal pick and roll player. He's quick and excels in Don Nelson's offense and is one of the few players on the Warriors squad that is committed to playing good defense. His length could disturb the opposing offense and he can block shots with the best of them.
Biedrins, however, has to work twice as hard on defense because of the lack of front court help. Nelson plays small ball so, at times, a shooting guard may have to play power forward which makes it even harder on Biedrins.
Somehow, though, he manages to get the job done.
Biedrins led the league in field goal percentage last season. He averaged nearly a double double in less than 30 minutes a game, not to mention a 26 rebound game last season against the New York Knicks. It was not only a career night for him, but it was also the NBA's season highest rebound total in a single game.
Along with all his other talent, Biedrins has great footwork and possesses a great work ethic. His free trow shooting has improved since his rookie year by nearly twenty percent, which obviously shows he can improve on many other things over time.
He may not be the strongest guy out on the court, but he can take control with the dirty work he does down low and the way he crashes the boards. He has the potential to be a star in this league, and many people have yet to acknowledge it.
When he went out with an appendectomy last season, the Warriors struggled without their big man in the middle. They were a much worse rebounding team, didn't shoot the ball well, and their scoring percentage decreased.
Don Nelson doesn't like young players, and he doesn't like centers. Nevertheless, he continues to play Biedrins. It indicates to the fans that he truly possesses an amazing work ethic and more potential than many may think.
Andris Biedrins may not be as good as Bynum, Jefferson, Kaman, but he is not as far off as many people predict. Biedrins will be at least a borderline all-star in this league, and one of the best centers of the future.