On June 28th, 2011 the Golden State Warriors announced the purchasing of the Dakota Wizards, a NBA Developmental League team. With the acquisition of the Wizards, the Warriors took over the business and basketball operations of the team and the Wizards also became the official affiliate of the Warriors according to the NBA.com article found at this link.
The Warriors over the past couple of seasons have found success in bringing up players from the Developmental League including Reggie Williams, Anthony Tolliver, C.J. Watson, and Kelenna Azubuike. Now the Warriors are in a position to use the Wizards to their advantage and that is by sending Ekpe Udoh to the Wizards to work on his game.
Udoh was drafted as the sixth pick in the 2010 draft out of Baylor. He started his rookie season with an injured wrist and appeared in 58 games including 18 starts. He finished the season with a stat line of 4.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, .7 assists, 1.5 blocks on 43.7 percent shooting and 65.6 percent from the free throw line.
His scouting report from when he was drafted showed his strengths were his ability to block shots, that he’s a tremendous offensive rebounder, has a nice touch on a short-range and mid-range jumper, passes well and also improved his offensive skills around the basket. Yet, his weaknesses are that he is still raw offensively, the game doesn’t really flow to him in the post, he turns the ball over and needed to work on his defensive rebounding specifically boxing out.
With Udoh being raw it would have been more beneficial for him coming off the injury to play in the D-League to work on his weaknesses and that did not happen. So, in his rookie year he showed that he had the potential to be a very good defensive player and that his offensive game needed work.
In the preseason Udoh looked very good in the post showing off his ability to use either hand effectively on a nice jump hook and he has showed off the hook during the season as well. The issue Udoh faces though offensively now is when he has the ball and faces up his defender. Udoh doesn’t have the ball handling skills and therefore he travels, also noticeable is when he’s in the high post receiving the ball from 15-18 feet from the basket he is unable to back his defender in, so he just ends up looking to pass the ball off quickly with his back to the basket even though his defender has backed off of him.
When he gets the ball in the high post that would be the time to showcase the mid-range jumper that was indicated as a strength of his.
For Udoh it will be very difficult to expand his offensive game while only receiving 15.5 minutes per game, so sending him to the Wizards would be beneficial for him and the Warriors. This would allow for Udoh to work on his ball handling, being able to back his defender down in the post, showoff his mid-range jumper and build his confidence by having him play 30-35 minutes a night.