ESPN’s Chad Ford reports that if DeMarcus Cousins is off the board at No. 6 (he is expected to be drafted in the top five selections), the Warriors are leaning towards Ekpe Udoh and not Greg Monroe as previously reported. The reason? Monroe had a poor workout with Golden State over the weekend.
Here’s what Ford had to say:
If the Kings take Cousins at 5, we’re left with an interesting scenario at No. 6 in Golden State. We’ve had Greg Monroe pegged there for a week, but after a poor workout, the Warriors are now leaning away from Monroe. A plugged in source tells us that Ekpe Udoh is now the favorite to land in Golden State if Cousins and Favors are off the board.
This is an interesting development. I was never crazy about the Monroe rumors. I really like his size. At 6-foot-11 and 247 pounds with a long 7-2 wingspan, he’s a true power forward. He had a good sophomore season for Georgetown, averaging 16.1 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. But the scouting report on Monroe is that he lacks athleticism, doesn’t always play hard, lacks toughness and isn’t a great rebounder (I’ll trust the scouts on that one because 9.6 rebounds looks pretty good to me). The reason I’m not crazy about Monroe is that the Warriors need toughness, defense and rebounding from the power forward and center positions. Scouts indicate that Monroe will provide none of that.
Udoh has his own set of weaknesses. But let’s focus on his strengths first. Like Monroe, the Baylor power forward has great size. He’s 6-foot-10, 237 pounds and has an even better wingspan than Monroe at 7-5. He averaged 13.9 points, 9.8 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game. Scouts report that Udoh is a good athlete, aggressive rebounder, and is an improving offensive player with developing range out to the 3-point line. His weaknesses? He needs to improve his basketball IQ and needs to develop strength. The IQ issue is a little worrisome. I don’t know if that’s something you can coach into a player. The strength doesn’t concern me. Udoh has a good frame and once he gets on an NBA workout and nutrition plan, he’ll improve his strength.
It seems that Udoh provides more of what the Warriors need — rebounding, defense and toughness — than Monroe does. You can’t ever trust these rumors that circulate in the days leading up to the draft, but if the Warriors are leaning towards Udoh, I think that’s a good move.