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The Problems With Ekpe Udoh

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I see several fans jumping aboard the Ekpe Udoh bandwagon as the Kings' superdupersleeper pick. It's quite clever, and I don't mean that in a dismissive or condescending way. Clearly, multiple fans think Udoh could be in play at No. 5, despite his status as a low lottery prospect on most boards. This, to me, indicates that several fans find this to be a keen idea.

I'm not on board.

Problem #1: No one ever spells his name right. It's Ekpe, not Epke and certainly not Eppie's.

Problem #2: He's not a defensive rebounder. Udoh rebounded 17.9 percent of defensive opportunities, per KenPom.com. Baylor was 169th in the nation in defensive rebounding, so there were certainly available opportunities Udoh nor a teammate grabbed. (I mention that because if a player has mediocre rebound rates but the team ranks highly, there could be an issue of a teammate or two deflating said player's rebound totals.) Just about every big man pegged for the first round outrebounded Udoh on defense. A number of small forwards did, as well. It's not just that this team needs defensive rebounding. It's that the team can't really afford to add a player to the frontcourt rotation who cannot rebound on defense effectively.

 




Problem #3: His offense is suspect. If he were an all-world defender in the making -- he can block shots extremely well, but again, he's not a strong defensive rebounder -- you can work on that. See: Derrick Favors. But Udoh had poor efficiency numbers at Baylor, despite not shooting nearly as much as other big man prospects. Favors is considered to be extremely raw on offense. Yet he shot about as frequently as Udoh at a much higher efficiency with more less talented guards setting him up. I know this isn't a choice between Favors and Udoh. But listen to what they say about Favors, and understand he's more developed on offense than Udoh, while also being bigger, a better rebounder and potentially a better defender.

Problem #4: Udoh's best skill is shotblocking, something the Kings could certainly. His second best skill is offensive rebounding. Udoh is unlikely to be much better than Jason Thompson at the pro level in that category (and probably not as good as likely returnee Jon Brockman). Other than that, Udoh isn't or doesn't project to be much better than any current Kings big man in any category. He can shoot from the mid-range, but so can Thompson and Carl Landry. He can play in the post, but so can Landry. He can pass, but so can Spencer Hawes.

Udoh needs to be a plus-plus-defender to justify the No. 5 spot, and I have trouble figuring out how you determine that in the workout process with one real season of college ball to look at.