Starting Udoh likely to weaken Warriors' bench

February 21, 2012, 5:18 pm
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Warriors coach Mark Jackson has been steadfast in the pastfew weeks about whether he was considering starting Ekpe Udoh over AndrisBiedrins at center.The answer was no, and he wasnt thinking about it,either.But that was before Udoh was forced into the starting lineupon Monday night against the L.A. Clippers when Biedrins was out with flu-likesymptoms and had a career-high 19 points and eight rebounds in 38minutes.
What a difference a game makes. Just like that, Jacksonacknowledged after the game that Udoh very much could be in the starting lineupwhen the Warriors play at Phoenix on Wednesday.The way he played (Monday), he gives us something totallydifferent, Jackson said I will take my time and assess our basketball teamand well move forward.RELATED: Ekpe Udoh game logs
The move to take Biedrins out of the starting lineup seemslike a no-brainer. Biedrins has been mostly ineffectual this season, defendingand rebounding on occasion but seldom scoring.But its not only about taking Biedrins out of the startinglineup; its about Udoh not being part of the second unit coming off the bench.And thats the one thing thats been pretty consistent this season for theWarriors their substitutes.Udoh has shown himself to be an anchor defensively, eventhough hes playing mostly out of position at center. He is a big part of thedefensive identity of the second unit, covering consistently for mistakes madeon the perimeter.Who knows how Biedrins will jell with the subs and whetherhes capable of bringing to thatgroup what Udoh previously did. The bottom line is that the Warriors havegotten precious little out of Biedrins as a starter, and so do they riskgetting nothing out of him at all off the bench?There is little doubt that Udoh deserves to start,regardless of how long it took Jackson to realize it. But at the same time,starting Udoh may very well make the bench less effective.And if the bench is less effective, will the Warriors be asgood? No doubt it, starting Udoh seems like the right thing to do. But thereare no guarantees the Warriors as a whole will be better for it.

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