I was flicking through the available free agents the other day, and aside from Ramon Sessions, who I've heard mentioned many times and will no doubt end up somewhere, one name caught my eye- Ekpe Udoh.
What do you think will happen to the guy? And why do you think he hasn't he got a team yet?
To recap- Udoh was a great, raw shotblocker at the college level, before some promising minutes for the Warriors in his first two seasons, averaging 5/4/1.5 in about 20 minutes per. He then got traded as a throw-in to the Bogut-Ellis trade, to Milwaukee, or as it's otherwise known, "The Place NBA Careers Go To Die".
But I still think he's one of the most talented players still available. I mean, he's athletic, he's only 27, he's averaged 2.5 blocks per 36 across his career, and I don't think he's ever had a fair chance- I can't believe no-one would take a chance on him.
Perfect scenarios? TBH, he'd be great playing alongside a double-double machine, centre or power forward, who maybe doesn't have the athleticism to guard quicker guys, or shotblocking ability- maybe a Nik Vucevic, Demarcus Cousins, or a Kevin Love- even a Jared Sullinger, Al Jefferson, Nik Pekovic or Blake Griffin. Sure he wouldn't start for any of those teams, but I definitely think he could contribute in an energy role off the bench.
What do you guys think? Is he under the radar? Or just an injury prone, washed up scrub, who could never get it all together? Discuss...
As a center for a hybrid Cavs lineup of LeBron at point, Mike Miller at the 2, Shawn Marion at the 3 and Kevin Love at the 4. Five guys between 6'7 and 6'9. Length and everything else. LeBron and Marion defending guys from the 1-4 spots with Udoh blocking shots.
It would be GAME OVER with those five.
They would then have a really solid conventional second unit of Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, James Jones/Joe Harris, Tristan Thompson, and Anderson Varejao.
If not the Cavs, then the Spurs could use an extra defender/rebounder/shot blocker next to Tim Duncan. They could play Udoh with Duncan or Boris Diaw or rotate all three (along with Splitter) at the center spot. They could use them as a main defender against some of the West's bigs like Ibaka, Blake, Aldridge, and Z Bo.
I think it'd be a different story if he was 22-24 not 27.... 27 is old for a raw player like Ekpe. I think he's just a back-up journeyman type. It's a shame bc I liked his game in college too
Right now he has back up center potential if he bulks up and be consistent when it comes to his free throws. He can become an energy guy off the bench who hits the glass hard and blocks shots.
Teams who should think about him
Houston, if Dwight gets in foul trouble
Brooklyn, could be the second big off the bench behind Plumlee
Detroit, needs a back up center behind Drummond
Detroit signed Aaron Gray as their backup centre behind Drummond.
He could be the back up to Asik, I believe Jason Smith is a free agent
Smith is a Knick, and I agree. He could do well backing up Davis and Asik.
They have Jeff Withey and Patric Young. Both younger, with more upside and about the same level of player as Udoh.
Withey averaged 8.3 ppg 3.6 rpg and 2.3 bpg in only 21.4 mpg in 8 games last April and followed it up with a strong Summer League.
Young, they signed as an undrafted free agent, and proved at the very least he could rebound and hit garbage shots during SL, and although he'll probably split time in the D-League, he rounds out NO's big man rotation.
Not to mention, Withey will make 816 K next season, and Young will make 507 K.
Udoh's minimum would be about 1,000,000 because of his veteran status. I think the Pelicans are set.
im with you most of you guys. he could still carve out a niche in the league ala adonal foyle who will block shots, box out on rebounds and set hard picks. the orlando idea is actually preety good since he could compliment either vucevic or frye. i hear my warriors are interested in bringing him back, but id rather the 3rd center minutes go to ezekil. and if he's still injured, id rather we bring back jermaine honestly.
Yeah, doing a quick google he was linked to the Heat (before LeBron's decision) and GSW. I'm hoping he sticks around somewhere!
The Rockets signed Joey Dorsey who is a guy like that.
Still like the Cavs. Udoh could be a third string center or third string power forward for them.
Udoh could also start for them if they wanted to bring both Andy V and TT off the bench.
Ekpe Udoh on the Cavs would give them an extra big and their only legit shot blocker.
I would actually consider starting him as a sort of rich man's Joel Anthony (who played passably well with the Miami Heat).
Love, LeBron, Waiters, and Irving can score enough and put up points in a hurry (from anywhere on the court) so they would need Udoh just for defense, shot blocking, and rebounding.
Starting him would also allow the Cavs to limit Andy V's and Haywood's minutes.
THEN you get a pretty good bench mob of Dellavadova, Mike Miller, Shawn Marion, Tristan Thompson, and Andy V. Lots of length, and rebounding there with some guys who can get garbage buckets and one legit long-range shooter in Mike Miller.
That gives them a complete first unit, a really good second unit, and then an ideal third center in Brendan Haywood. Joe Harris would be the 13th man.
I would use James Jones as a 3 point sniper sixth man who could come into the game for either Waiters or LeBron or Love (or Udoh if they go with small ball).
A small ball lineup of Irving, Waiters, James Jones, LeBron, and Love would have shooting and scoring everywhere with just enough defense and rebounding.