Welcome to my Nightmare

“Welcome to my nightmare/I think you’re gonna like it.” — Alice Cooper

My twitter feed is aflame with the news that Ekpe Friday “The Nightmare” Udoh will take the court tomorrow against the Miami Heat.  Udoh practiced with the team and looked ready to multiple observers.  Marcus Thompson tweets: “Ekpe looks ready. He’s blocking shots, dunking, even making midrange jumpers.” Matt Steinmetz tweets: “Asked Reggie Williams to tell me something about Udoh. He said: ‘He’s long, and he blocks everything.'”

I haven’t been this interested and excited in a Warriors rookie debut since…, well since last year’s clear-cut — but defrauded by media ignorance — Rookie of the Year, Stephen Curry. But before that, you’d have to go back to Chris Webber.                                                   

I just have a funny feeling about this kid, a tingling up my leg, as Chris Mathews famously experienced while observing Senator Obama deliver a speech. I have an intuition that he might be a very special player.  I’ve already discussed the reasons for this.  It’s a combination of reading the scouting report on him –which I discussed here and here — and the fact that Don Nelson chose him over the player all the pundits chose for the Warriors (Greg Monroe, currently stiffening the Pistons middle).

Udoh’s combination of talents — the combination of extraordinary intelligence with extraordinary length and extraordinary athleticism and an extraordinary desire to play defense — is one of the rarest of all combinations to be found in NBA players.  When you are lucky enough to find it, it has the potential to be a game changer. A franchise changer, even.

It’s the combination that Bill Russell had. The player — as I’m sure I don’t need to remind you — whom Don Nelson regarded as the best to ever play the game.

Am I a little over-excited? You bet. Are my expectations ridiculous?

Let’s watch and see.

23 Responses to Welcome to my Nightmare

  1. “Am I a little over-excited? You bet.”
    So that tingling up your leg is pee??? Eewww…

    At least we’ve got something to get excited about. Udoh coming on board a month earlier than previously expected is great. Hope you’re right about him, felty.

    Still worried about SC though. That ankle thing seems like it just ain’t gonna go away for the rest of the season.

  2. A tingling up your leg? Lol felt. I admire the fact that you aren’t afraid to say what’s on your mind. hahahaha. We’re all nuts on these blogs.

  3. maestro felt, it’s just my style preference, but it’s bad form to invoke one of the handful of the g.o.a.t.’s at his position to compare with any contemporary player. [people can compare cousins to o’neal all they want because it’s clearly absurd and o’neal doesn’t qualify as one of the g.o.a.t. centers : chamberlain, russell, olajuwan, abdul-jabbar, walton with an asterisk — bernard king gets a similar asterisk among 3’s]. udoh isn’t likely to alter the very definition of how his position can be played.

    i suspect the game now has too many distractions with the propaganda matrix surrounding it for most of the present day players to have the same focus (and sustain it a decade-plus) as those in times gone by — nash and duncan might be exceptions because they have exceptional personalities and character. most of the elite players now get lost at times almost impersonating themselves, living up to the junk made up by the media/sponsors/pundits/bloggers. to paraphrase l.brown, just play the game the right way.

    if udoh is an industrious hybrid of geo.johnson and willis reed, that would be a huge boon, but it would suffice if he and amundson could reduce biedrins to a part time player and cut down lee’s minutes until his arm fully heals.
    should udoh be able to fit that niche, the team will still badly need another strong perimeter defender at the wing — wright#1 is over extended by the coach and can’t be the only one on the team.

  4. i share everyone’s excitement with udoh. however, with Smart’s affinity for running his what he calls “motion” offense, I’m afraid he’ll never get the most out of Udoh nor allow him to grow.

    I’m perplexed as to how so few are pointing the finger at Smart and his incompetencies at the helm.

  5. Glad to find you lurking out there Moto, ever ready to rein me in :> I’m not saying Udoh will be Russell, or will change the definition of his position. I’m saying he possesses the same combination of 4 qualities that Russell possessed, which combination is extraordinary rare. As an exercise for yourself, try and name me a player other than Duncan or Garnett in the league today who possesses those qualities.

    Let’s revisit this discussion in a few months, when the extent of Udoh’s intelligence and desire will be quantifiable to us…

  6. Andre Miller on pushing the tempo against the Magic: “We didn’t want to play half-court offense against a defense that good.”

  7. scmancrush,

    “I’m perplexed as to how so few are pointing the finger at Smart and his incompetencies at the helm.”

    You must be new to this blog.

  8. scman, for your peace of mind maybe think of smart as a transitional coach, a variation of the Montgomery term — smart will surely last no longer than two seasons. unfortunately the team resembles their predecessor in other ways — dependence on back court scorers, disjointed offense profuse in turnovers, a coach tied to conventions preaching d and boards at the price of stifling the offense. on the positive side, today’s players so far radiate harmony and optimism for the most part, almost dull and too good to be true in comparison to the crew at the start of Mullin’s reign.

    maestro felt — not the likeliest candidate, but rondo comes close, and with Garnett’s decline the mighty mite is often the adhesive and motor for that team.

  9. “I just have a funny feeling about this kid”

    Unfortunately, so do I. Udoh = Joe Smith 2010 model.

  10. rggblog, not new at all… I know all about feltbot’s distaste for Smart and references to Nelly… Sentiments share wholeheartedly…

    I was referring to everyone else not named feltbot…

  11. Reality time: Smart will have Udoh on a very short leash. The Heat will hunt him out like lions on a sick antelope. The first time Bron comes at Udoh…”and one”, Udoh puts the ball on the floor, swiped way on a quick double team, TO. He goes at Bosh, blocked and Epke cries foul. Wade takes the ball at the top of the key and pulls up for a mid range right in from of him….”and one”. Smart yanks him. Three minutes, two fouls, one BA, one TO, one rebound and no points. He’s the new skinny kid, this is the first day of school and the bullies are waiting.

  12. Expect Udoh to be great shot-blocker and defensive presence, poor defensive rebounder, good offensive rebounder. Offense unpredictable.

  13. Now’s the time to record your predictions, guys. We’ll revisit them in a month’s time.

    So far it looks like I’m way out on a limb, all by myself.

    That’s the way I like it.

  14. WheresMyChippy

    moto, Bill Russell is not “one of the handful of g.o.a.t.’s at his position.” He IS the g.o.a.t. Wilt doesn’t even compare and it showed when they met on the court. And good call with the Rondo comparison, I believe he does possess those four qualities.

    Felt, I completely agree. I knew I was gonna love this kid on draft day when he gave David Stern a hug rather than the customary handshake.

  15. re Rondo: You guys are forgetting that one of the four qualities I listed was “extraordinary length.” I am talking about BIG MEN.

    Size, Athleticism, A Desire to Dominate the Paint so great that he proudly calls himself The Nightmare. Combined with Great Intelligence. Name me a couple players, other than Duncan and Garnett.

    The point I am stressing is that the combination of qualities Udoh is said to possess are extraordinarily rare in the NBA, and where found, of extraordinary value to the team.

  16. WheresMyChippy

    I would say that Rondo is “extraordinarily long” for his position if we’re talking about wingspan. But if we’re talking big men… I don’t know.. Gasol? Mutumbo? They both seem to be lacking one of the four.

  17. Zero Rebounds in NBA debut.

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