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Ranking all of Steph’s teammates: #59 — Ekpe Udoh

We all have fond memories of Udoh.

Dallas Mavericks v Golden State Warriors Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

On June 25, 2009, the Golden State Warriors drafted Steph Curry. Ten years and 16 days later, the Oklahoma City Thunder traded Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets. With that move, Curry moved to second in the NBA for longest tenure with his current team. The only player he sits behind is Udonis Haslem, though that feels like a technicality. At this point, Haslem is essentially an assistant coach for the Miami Heat, having appeared in just 43 games and played fewer than 300 minutes over the last four seasons combined.

During his time in the Bay Area, Curry has had 106 teammates who have appeared in at least one game. Some played in exactly one game, while others played in hundreds. Some never actually played in a game that Curry was active for, while others formed historically great partnerships with him.

And I’m ranking all 106 over the course of a few months.

Players are ranked — and stats are shown — based only on their time as Curry’s teammate. How good/bad they were in other organizations doesn’t matter. How good/bad they were on pre-2009-10 Warriors teams doesn’t matter.

To see all of the rankings thus far, you can click on the “Ranking Steph’s teammates” tag at the top of the article.

#59 — Ekpe Udoh

Golden State Warriors v Oklahoma City Thunder Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images

Games: 96 (29th out of 106)
Points per game: 4.6 (T-64th out of 106)
Rebounds per game: 3.4 (T-44th out of 106)
Assists per game: 0.7 (T-71st out of 106)

The Warriors drafted Ekpe Udoh with the sixth overall pick in 2010, just one year after they took Steph Curry. The reason for drafting Udoh was very, very simple: he projected to be a spectacular defensive player.

In both the Warriors and Udoh’s defense (pardon the pun), that scouting report was mostly accurate. Even as a rookie, when you expect even a good defensive prospect to struggle on that end of the court, Udoh was a good defender. He was a strong interior presence, able to hold up against centers and power forwards posting up. He had tremendous help defense instincts, and spectacular timing with his blocks. He averaged just 17.8 minutes per game as a rookie but blocked 1.5 shots.

He was an impact defender from day one, and that’s a very rare thing to find.

But the problem with Udoh was that his offense was never good enough to justify keeping him on the floor. Had he played a few decades prior, he might have been an All-Star. But in an era rapidly trending towards big men having diverse offensive skillsets, Udoh couldn’t quite cut it.

During his season and a half with the Warriors he shot just 44.0% from the field, and didn’t get to the free throw line a lot. His true-shooting percentage was 48.1%, which is well-below average. That just doesn’t cut it for a center.

Ultimately, Udoh ended up being a key part of the trade that sent Monta Ellis to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Andrew Bogut, so he played a strong role in the Warriors rebuild, even if it wasn’t in the fashion that the Warriors initially envisioned. He had a few good years with the Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers, then spent some time overseas before returning for two years with the Utah Jazz, where he looked very good.

He spent this season playing in China.


What do you think of Ekpe Udoh’s ranking?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    He was better than #59
    (9 votes)
  • 50%
    #59 is about right
    (30 votes)
  • 33%
    He was worse than #59
    (20 votes)
59 votes total Vote Now