Did Don Nelson get the player he wanted?

Don’t answer until you check out this profile of Udoh.  I note several characteristics of a quintessential Don Nelson player.  First of all, “he has an incredible basketball intelligence.” Secondly, he has a love of doing the dirty work, which is something Nellie desperately wants from his four, and which has been sadly lacking in both Brandan Wright and Anthony Randolph.  Third, he has versatility, or as Nellie puts it, the ability to do more than one thing well.

Udoh has the beef, at a full 40 lbs. over what BWright and Randolph weighed coming into the league.  They were 200 dripping wet.  He’s 240.  Udoh plays above the rim.  He loves to defend and rebound and block shots.  He has a 7’5″ wingspan.

On offense, he has some low post moves (say what?!!).  He shoots the jumper out to at least the college three point line.  He handles well, and can face up and beat his man off the dribble.  He runs the court.

And he’s “an underrated passer.”  Baylor played him at point forward, for heaven’s sake:

Drew had used a three- or four-guard, dribble-drive attack the past few seasons but now often circulates the ball through Udoh in the post, where he has terrific awareness and passing skills. “Defenses have to be honest with Ekpe, which opens up driving lanes,” Morefield says. When Sam Houston State came out in a triangle-and-two to lock down the Bears’ backcourt of Tweety Carter and LaceDarius Dunn, Udoh shifted to point forward and scored 20 points while handing out five assists and grabbing 13 rebounds.


Did I mention that “he has an incredible basketball intelligence?”

I’ve never seen him play, but I have to say that Udoh sounds like a Don Nelson wet dream.

I have a funny feeling brewing.  A sneaking suspicion…

That The Nightmare has already beaten out Brandan Wright and Anthony Randolph.

Sorry, fanboys.

33 Responses to Did Don Nelson get the player he wanted?

  1. Let’s not forget Tolliver. We know more about who he is as a player than we do about any of the other 4s. He hustles, he’s smart, he will bang (though undersized) and he can shoot from the wing. He has the skill set to even spend time at the 3. No question that BW or AR (and probably AR) will be packaged with Biedrins or Ellis for a trade. And I believe that Riley wants it done sooner than later.

  2. I really like Tolliver, and Hunter too. Love to see the Warriors keep them. But how? I think your surmise is correct.

  3. I think Tollver will stay. Biedrins will be the hardest to move except they could proabably get Turkoglu if we add in AR. He fills the need at the 3 but he’s basically Vlad with slightly better handling and passing skills. Maybe then Hunter will stay.

  4. Sounds like it won’t take Udoh long to figure out what he’s supposed to do? Would he have been more highly thought of if he’d had the same stats for one of the big schools? It really was impressive how quickly the D-leaguers came together and got into the system the last months of the season, and I wonder if this potential with Udoh influenced GS’s draft pick.

    We never really saw what Tolliver could do with a full-sized squad (or Maggette last year for that matter).

    I think my main priority is just to see a full-sized, cohesive squad, with healthy players on the bench. A blue chip free agent might at best get the Warriors into the first round of the playoffs — and leave them with salary problems and holes in the squad and identity issues sooner or later, probably with the need to rebuild again in 2-3 years.

    My main concern for the squad last year was their identity problems, in so many ways, for so many reasons. The only thing that brought them together was the injuries — they had to play together, all 5-7 of them. Training camp should be different this year.

    Raja Bell is having serious talks with the Lakers. We probably don’t have room or the bucks, but he would have been a good veteran influence on the team next year.

    No one scored over a 100 in the finals — I think they should replay. Rondo is a great player, but I kept shouting at the screen “Pop it, Rondo! Pop it!” I wonder what a mature Curry could have done with that Celtic squad.

  5. “he’s basically Vlad with slightly better handling and passing skills”

    Sheesh. Say something nice about the guy.

  6. I don’t see AR as a three, at all. And neither does Nellie. He’s a backup 5, for sure, and potentially a 4.

    I had the same thought about Curry on the Celtics, Nivrag. For one thing, Kobe couldn’t have played off him. With Rondo basically not being guarded, Ray Allen had to work way too hard to get open.

  7. MT report on Udoh press-con:

    Why don’t you want to draft for potential instead of a 23 year old?

    “We just don’t need any more projects.” The sense I got was that management is kind of tired of waiting on guys and developing guys. They want some guys who are ready to play. They will be looking to add a couple veterans, a key one in a trade and maybe a vet with the midlevel, to give the team some level of experience. One person said it was important to give Stephen Curry some reliable horses. He can be even better if they get him some playmakers and consistent performers with him.

    “Projects” is telling — who did he have in mind?

    Note the phrase “give Stephen Curry some reliable horses.” It looks like a foregone conclusion: Curry is not a future star but IS the face of franchise, now.

    How on earth is Ellis supposed to take this? I wouldn’t be surprised to see him leave, and really wouldn’t blame him.

  8. I don’t feel bad for Monta if that’s the way it plays out. Nellie told him repeatedly that he needed to play point to become a great player, and Monta stubbornly refused. Now that we’ve got an all-star caliber point guard, Monta’s going to have to willingly take a back seat, or leave.

  9. Why do you think Monta just bought an estate size home outside of Memphis. Gone baby gone and is really is too bad.

  10. I think Ellis has the ability to be an all-star.

    He needs to improve his offensive game by not being sloppy and turning the ball over when in half-court sets, becomes more efficient in deciding when to drive and when not to, by shooting no more then 18 shots per game, and by being rested during the course of the game.

    He needs to look for the open man more, especially Morrow.

    He really has unique skills on defense.He has the ability to strip the ball from an opposing player the player is dribbling, holding the ball, or shooting. He needs to fall asleep when his man is driving to the basket.

    He has to go back to the focused Ellis that he was when he first came to the Warriors and shed himself from the bad vibes he has against people that he received from Capt. Jack.

  11. Aperacer: I really don’t think Monta’s real estate purchases have anything to do with where he’ll play next year. I’m sure 90% or more of NBA players do not live where their team is located. Why shouldn’t Monta buy a house where he’s from? Especially on the cheap, from a broke sports player ironically.

  12. Bleep, true many do live in places elsewhere and Memphis is somewhat close to Missississippi. But, Riley has said, he has two big contracts to move and we know there was an offer on the table from Memphis. Maybe 1 + 1 + 1 is not 3.

  13. WheresMyChippy

    I really hope Ellis stays.

    Eventual lineup?


    If all this “potential” actually becomes fulfilled, that is a devastating lineup.

  14. WMC, I like the potential of all the players you’ve listed, but I don’t believe any of the bigs have SF skills. I have a feeling the Warriors are going to deal for a 3, like Danny Granger.

    Steve, I remain unconvinced that Morrow can be a starter in the league. He will never be anything but a minus defender, and I don’t believe he can get his shot off against anyone who is determined to stop him. It’s one thing to be a 3 pt. shooting champion with no one guarding you. It’s quite another to get your shot off in the playoffs when a 6’6″ defender is determined to shut it down. Ray Allen has the speed to work around screens, the hops, and the high and quick release; Morrow has none of the three.

  15. Felt, I agree about Morrow. There’s no question he’s a great shooter, maybe one of the best the Warriors have ever had from the standpoint of drilling long range shot after another if open. Watching Morrow last season, I was disappointed in how he would usually stagnate his movement and remain fairly stationary in one corner or the other, and much too often away from where the main ball movement was taking place.

    His game was more of an introverted nature, if you will, instead of constantly moving and demanding the ball from his teammates, which impact scorers in this league are want and have to do. I do believe he can improve because of his apparent willingness to put in the hard work necessary, and he seems more than very coachable and wanting to please in the worst way.

    In talking about adding or subtracting, the Stoudamires and Hedos of the NBA aren’t on my wish list. I think both have been overhyped throughout their careers, and come with monetary demands (or actual contracts) that I wouldn’t equalize to what they actually bring to a team, especially a young team like the Warriors. Leaders they’re not, IMO. Now, Danny Granger, whom you mentioned, is a much more intriguing name, among others.

    Riley sounds like someone itching to pull the trigger on a trade or two or three. If he does I hope the Warriors get lucky for a change. Then again, maybe having Curry fall to them at 7 last year was an early indicator of things getting better around here in the future. I hope I hope!

  16. Stephen A. Smith says LBJ and Bosh will join Wade in Miami.


  17. According to Steinmetz, at Comcast:

    Riley said on Monday that the Warriors will make qualifying offers to Anthony Morrow and C.J. Watson but will not extend one to center Chris Hunter. As for Anthony Tolliver, he’s not getting one, either, although Riley wouldn’t go so far as to confirm that.

    What that means is that Morrow and Watson are officially restricted free agents, giving the Warriors the right of first refusal when it comes to re-signing them. Hunter and Tolliver will become unrestricted free agents on July 1.

    The decision to not extend a qualifying offer to Tolliver likely has to do with numbers and the make-up of the team’s roster.

  18. I’m hoping that the Ws simply need max flexibility during the free agent signing/trading process, and will look to add at least Hunter back later, but hopefully also Tolliver. I think both those guys are very useful backups.

  19. Top 50 available free agents (comments on each player included) in slideshow format.


  20. Here’s another free agent list. Felt, what do you think about David Lee? Not that they could afford him, but always thought he’d look good in a Warriors’ jersey.


  21. I love David Lee. Terrific motor and IQ, and runs the floor. Great at pick and roll. Do you remember he and Duhon carving up the Ws at MSG? An ideal partner for Curry.

    Monta for Lee (I think D’Antoni would jump at Monta as his point guard) is a fantasy of mine.

  22. I have a sinking feeling we’re going to see a lot of familiar faces next fall. It’s going to be hard to attract the big names. And they’ve been trying to make a deal for a big man for over a year now, right? The only chance I see is if Monta becomes attractive in a swap — but hasn’t this been pursued behind the scenes?

    I just hope they don’t spend a lot of money and contract years on second best — a so so player who might not fit in or perform that well — which is kind of what they’ve been doing the last years.

    Also, who’s going to be healthy next year? I haven’t heard word of Turiaf getting his knee fixed. Long periods of rest last year didn’t seem to do much good.

  23. What about Melo on GSW? What with the ownership change (what Ellison wants he gets, and I believe he wants the Warriors more than a little bit) and the resulting sudden deep pockets, maybe not such a far fetched thought.


  24. Who’s going where in free agency? The “experts” make the call.


  25. 5 years, $100m for Stoudamire — these contracts are insane. Trying to top that would have done the Warriors more harm than good. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of these high stakes bidding teams hobbled in the next few years.

    I’m in a mood to congratulate the FO if they don’t do something stupid this summer.

    New theme song for the Warriors:

    and watch this to the end — it’s a terrific piece.

  26. Felt, Chris Broussard of ESPN talked about your Monta for David Lee “dream” last night (sign and trade). All speculation, like everything else these days, which makes this column by Jeff Pearlman a good read.


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