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“I don’t take it personally,” said Udoh, the Warriors’ lone pick. “I don’t pay any attention to it. I just know I’m going to work hard.”
Newest member of the Golden State Warriors, Ekpe Udoh, tells the media that he’s come to work hard. This is an expected response from a player that many online reviews of last night’s draft have dubbed as another head-scratching move by the team where head-scratching is, unfortunately, their forte.
Here’s a disconcerting statement by GM Larry Riley:
“You’re not going to put him down the block and have him whip Carlos Boozer, but he can play around the basket,” Riley said. “I think he’s another guy who can move the ball successfully, and I think he’ll run very well for us, and Steph will find him in the open court.”
Well, if Udoh, drafted for his defensive skills, can’t defend Boozer, who will? Or by defense, do we mean another skinny, weak-side shot-blocker that can’t really defend at the NBA level yet? Heck, even players like Jason Maxiell will begin to look like Carlos Boozer if he goes against the Warriors new “Skinny 3.”
If having a 6’9 trio is supposed to be a marketing scheme, I’m calling it now: This will go down as one of the biggest sports marketing blunders since … last season when Monta Ellis was given the keys to the franchise?
Ahh, thank you Warriors for all the head-scratching…
The newest Golden State Warrior, Ekpe Udoh, tells Twitter that he has decided what number to wear next season.
Just picked jersey #20
Former players to wear the jersey include Jon Barry, Vic Bartolome, Dell Demps, Pat Durham, Mario Elie, Jeff Grayer, Larry Hughes, Tim Legler, Pace Mannion, Cartier Martin, DeMarcus Nelson, Micheal Ray Richardson, Brian Shaw, Phil Smith, Terry Teagle and of course Nikoloz Tskitishvili.
Hopefully he’ll be the best to ever wear the number.
Last night, the Warriors used a lottery pick on a skinny, athletic power forward for the third time in four seasons. Indeed, it’s fair to wonder where exactly Ekpe Udoh, the newest rangy four-man, fits on the team. But Matt Steinmetz of CSN Bay Area asks Warriors fans to consider Udoh’s skills, not just his positional designation, in evaluating what Udoh can bring to the mix:
Think about the Warriors’ front line: Andris Biedrins, Ronny Turiaf, Dan Gadzuric. There’s not a back-to-the-basket move among those players. Throw Chris Hunter in there, too. He’s more of a face-up player. [….]
Udoh is nothing special in the low post, but he is competent. He can make the right pass out of there – not that he’ll get double-teamed, though – and even has a little bit of a left hand.
If the Warriors get “competent” low-post production from Udoh, they’ll be pretty happy. Yet maybe their fans’ issue with the selection is that, with the sixth pick, the team should get more than competence.
Though the Warriors disappointed their fans and confused some analysts with their decision to potentially reach for Ekpe Udoh with the No. 6 pick in last night's NBA Draft, at least one person thinks the pick makes sense. From Diamond Leung of ESPN.com's TrueHoop blog:
Udoh isn’t the big-name pick the Warriors got last year with Stephen Curry, but he was the best player on their board. They passed on Georgetown’s Greg Monroe in favor of Udoh for his shot-blocking, ability to make mid-range jumpers and offensive rebounding prowess.
And while Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk doesn't quite understand the pick, he makes a good point when he writes, "[it's] hard to make a good pick with a team in flux," as Golden State clearly is. He grades the pick a B-.
Marcus Thompson notes that Warriors fans are disappointed with the selection of Ekpe Udoh. Thompson also mentions the previously speculated smokescreen, which turned out to be... something like a smokescreen of a smokescreen, perhaps?
Fans clearly wanted Monroe and responded at the Warriors’ draft party at Oracle Arena by booing the pick, and I’m told there were chants to trade the pick. The Warriors are clearly happy with Udoh over Monroe, who didn’t impress the Warriors in his workout. Golden State already has three centers on the roster. But they also have two power forwards, which has fans befuddled.
As noted in the previous update, Golden State Of Mind seems to be of the same opinion: disappointment, and as Fooch notes: Brian (GSoM editor) has an uncanny bit of prediction skills, having said: "This looks like another Warriors draft day disaster."
So it would seem.
Golden State of Mind has a thread discussing the team’s selection of Udoh.
I’m actually surprised the Warriors didn’t sell the pick. You know, clearing cap space- before a player even counts against the cap. I guess that’s innovative (?).
Also, Yahoo! Sports had this to say about the pick.
It’s only fitting that a troubled franchise lacking stable ownership and leadership would make the first head-scratching pick of the night. Ekpe Udoh blossomed in his lone year at Baylor because of his solid mid-range game, shot-blocking and hustle, but does the former Michigan transfer have the explosiveness or the upside to justify the No. 6 pick? If not, he’ll add to Golden State’s collection of failed frontcourt lottery picks. — Jeff Eisenberg
With the sixth overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft the Golden State Warriors took Ekpe Udoh out of Baylor University. There was heavy speculation on the team being impressed with Udoh, and even more speculation on whether or not it was just a smokescreen. Clearly, it isn't.
Career Highlights: Named an Honorable Mention All-America by The Associated Press as a junior. Named to the All-Big 12 Second Team by The Associated Press as a junior. Named to the Big 12 All-Defense team by coaches as a junior. Earned Big 12 Player of the Week honors in January of his junior season. Named to Big Ten All-Defensive team as a sophomore at Michigan.
For more on the pick you can head over to Golden State Of Mind, SB Nation's Warriors blog for their coverage of the whole draft, with an obvious emphasis on the Warriors.
The previous picks were point guard John Wall to the Wizards first overall, guard Evan Turner to the 76ers, forward Derrick Favors to the Nets, forward Wesley Johnson to the Timberwolves and forward DeMarcus Cousins to the Kings.
With the implementation of an age limit, players have been forced to go to college for a year, even if they believe (and often are) ready to join the ranks of the NBA. However, the past two years have seen a pair of players take different, and potentially more intriguing routes to the NBA.
Prior to the 2009 draft, Brandon Jennings spent a season in Europe after struggling to qualify academically for college. His development in Europe has certainly helped him turn into a very solid pro for the MIlwaukee Bucks.
This year we have another intriguing player: Latavious Williams. Last year, Williams struggled to qualify academically, so rather than go to college, he declared himself eligible for the National Basketball Developmental League draft. The NBDL does not have an age minimum and Williams was drafted and played in the NBDL this past season. The New York Times has a feature on Williams heading into tonight’s draft:
He is the first American high school player to be drafted by a team in the Development League, and the experiment has been considered a success.
After playing one season for the Tulsa 66ers in the D-League, Williams, 21, is a possible second-round pick Thursday, scouts and other basketball officials say. Where he is picked and how he does could determine whether future players take the inglorious road of the Development League.
Matt Steinmetz of CSN Bay Area takes one last look at the Warriors' sixth pick and the players who could be there at that pick, be worth that pick, and be someone the Warriors would like on their team. Not a bad crop, but a serious bit of wishful thinking.
If those five are gone, as expected, then it pretty much comes down to Georgetown’s Greg Monroe or Baylor’s Ekpe Udoh, both of whom are frontcourt players. But that’s where the similarity ends.
Neither are bad choices, but who knows what happens with the consensus top five?
Don’t believe anything you hear the day of the draft, warns San Jose Mercury sports writer Tim Kawakami.
But Kawakami suggests that the Warriors may go in a number of directions, one of them being to save $3 million by trading down:
One true cautionary point: There’s always a chance the Warriors trade down if they’re not entirely sold on Udoh and think they can slide back to take someone else they like (maybe Ed Davis or Damion James) and grab $3M cash in the process.
Several sources told me tonight that owner Chris Cohan could be very tempted to get as much cash as possible ($3M per trade is the max), as long as he doesn’t look like he’s stripping the franchise bare before the sale.
In my opinion, there is little difference between Ekpe Udoh, Davis, or James. They all seem to tall, lanky, and slightly undersized power forwards, who Kawakami mentions the Warriors are already loaded with. Do we really need a raw power forward to groom with Anthony Randolph and Brandan Wright still on the books? This looks like another Warriors draft day disaster.
If DeMarcus Cousins is available at No. 6, you can bet the Warriors will draft him. But will he end up in a Warriors uniform?
“It seems there was an aura around him that raised questions, and then it kind of continued,” Riley said. “After a great deal of conversation with people who know, my mind is clear that it’s not an issue to be concerned about. I’m more concerned with basketball ability, what he can bring and how we can work with him.”
Clearly, that could be public play with Detroit, who picks No. 7 and reportedly loves Cousins. The Warriors might be trying to convince the Pistons to trade up a spot in the draft, a move that could include small forward Tayshaun Prince.
I would be worried about drafting Cousins, too. And slipping one spot to No.7 can still get the Warriors a number of players who all seem to have similar up and downsides: Greg Monroe, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Ekpe Udoh. But will Xavier Henry intrigue the Warriors enough despite some red flags Larry Riley sees in him?
“Henry is not quite as NBA-ready as some of the other guys, but he’s going to be a good player in his rookie year,” Riley said.
Marcus Thompson of the Contra Costa Times considers some “sleeper” picks that might look good in the Warriors new uniforms next year.
Trading down might become a more attractive option on draft day. Golden State may be looking into already and just keeping it under wraps. They don’t want more young guys, but they could get a another first-round pick and keep No. 6 if they wanted to cash in some of their depth. At least Indiana and Miami are looking to trade out of the draft.
Will Ekpe Udoh’s suit-wearing strategy at his Warriors workout be in vain?
Perhaps Ekpe Udoh was nervous the Golden State Warriors got a hold of the footage from his workout with the New Orleans Hornets, but showing up to a workout in a suit? Now that is making a first impression! See what Warriors fans think about this.
The NBA Draft goes down tonight, and as is the custom, the rumor mill is on fire. The latest rumor flying around about the Golden State Warriors has them potentially trading Dan Gadzuric and Andris Biedrins to the Denver Nuggets for Kenyon Martin.
Of course, given that this is the NBA, it's entirely possible there is a rumor out there for every single Warrior. Well, except maybe Stephen Curry! And actually, a firesale does make sense given that the Warriors are for sale. The team went into a big-time funk this season as they try and figure out a new identity. And with this draft potentially being four-deep, the Ws will have to work to make some magic with that sixth pick.
We'll be back throughout the day as news breaks, so stay tuned.