It’s been a relatively uneventful first round of the NBA Playoffs, but we’ve already lost a healthy portion of beloved former Sacramento Kings who were ‘representing’ this city in the postseason. Tyreke Evans? Swept. Isaiah Thomas? Swept. Greivis Vasquez, Patrick Patterson, and Chuck Hayes? Swept. Beno Udrih will have to carry Sacramento’s banner from this point forward. Go get ‘em, Beno.
Udrih is another one of those players who was lost in Sacramento’s losing organization for most of his prime. He is a classic ‘no really, he’s pretty good’ guy. No one will believe that statement until they watch him play. When Memphis signed him late last season, I, along with many other Sacramentan’s, knew he’d have a positive impact in Memphis if given the opportunity. He gave the Grizzlies 8 points in 16 minutes on a .467 FG%, and was even better than those numbers suggest. Not bad for a guy who hadn’t been with the team all season.
Memphis signed Udrih to a two-year contract last offseason, and he has been solid as Mike Conley’s backup since.
The Grizzlies are up on the Portland Trailblazers 3-0 in their opening round series, with game 4 and a potential Memphis sweep on the line later tonight.
Udrih is not only the last meaningful former Sacramento King standing, but also a key member a Memphis Grizzlies team that just lost Conley for an undisclosed period of time following facial surgery. That probably sounds worse than it is. Conley is expected to return sooner than that injury suggests.
Udrih is dealing with an ankle sprain of his own, and his role on this Grizzlies team just expanded tenfold. He’s gone from an important-but-nonessential rotation piece to the starting lineup. They are counting on him.
Everyone has a few marginal NBA players they gravitate towards. Marginal might not be giving those guys enough credit, but they aren’t superstars, and they certainly aren’t making the big bucks. Beno Udrih has always been of those guys for me. He’s on a list that includes Jiri Welsch, Rodney Rogers, and Jon Brockman, among others. I just loved the way Udrih played. He was unique as a role player in a way most role players aren’t. The spin moves, the mid-range jumpers, the cutting and movement away from the ball that so few point guards master, and of course, the patented
I’ll go ahead and predict an admirable performance by Beno Udrih in Mike Conley’s absence. I’ve been consistently open about my biases, and Udrih is certainly another one of those, but he was a good Sacramento King who played hard, smart, and represented this city with class. He loved it here, and we loved him back.
I’m not going to tell you which playoff team to root for, but Beno Udrih is enough for me jump on the Grizzlies bandwagon. Lets go.
Also, this …
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