Why Warriors Chose Udoh over Monroe

I just talked with a couple of people in the know from the Warriors about why they went with Baylor PF Ekpe Udoh over Georgetown center Greg Monroe. I tried to ask all of the questions I’ve seen, and get the answers that weren’t prepared for the press conference.

For the record, I don’t agree or disagree with any of these answers. My opinion is once DeMarcus Cousins went No. 5, this draft was over. It didn’t really matter, because the Warriors needs are greater than what this draft could provide. It was either a trade, or just grab whoever and move on. That’s what the Warriors did, though many don’t believe they grabbed the best.

Anyway, here are the explanations I received to the questions surrounding their pick:

If you need a center, why not get Georgetown center Greg Monroe?

From what I was told, the Warriors liked Monroe. He had some tools they liked. But his negatives gave them pause. He’s not athletic enough. And his game is better suited for the Princeton-style offense he played at Georgetown. The Warriors don’t need a high-post big man. They need a beast inside to get buckets, match-up with an opponents’ inside beast and protect the basket. Monroe wasn’t that. They did say he will be good, though. He just wasn’t the best fit and they didn’t have an interest in waiting for him to develop.

Why Udoh then?

He really impressed at his workout, and no one did anything to supplant him as No. 6 on their board. Not Xavier Henry. Not Paul George. Not Patrick Patterson. One person said it was very clear that Udoh was the best player at that spot. They like his defensive ability, especially because he can guard multiple positions, and he’s got a good enough offensive skillset that they didn’t feel like they were drafting a specialist.

OK, you liked Udoh. But why not trade down and get him later in the draft?

One person I talked to was convinced that Udoh would not have been around later in the draft at 10 or 11. One said Detroit would’ve taken Udoh. Another said he wouldn’t have gotten past Utah, who took Gordon Hayward.

(This is me talking: Riley said he wanted a player in exchange for the No. 6 pick. He didn’t want to just swap No. 6 for, say, No. 11. He wanted No. 11 and a player. He didn’t want No. 11 and a second-round pick. And, obviously, No. 11 and cash didn’t do the trick.)

You said you needed a small forward, why not draft a  small forward?

They were not that impressed with the small forwards in the draft, at least not their ability to come in and contribute. The preference is for a veteran small forward, maybe even a beast, who can come in and make a difference. Whichever small forward they would’ve gotten, outside Evan Turner or Wesley Johnson, he would’ve taken a while to get to the point where he could have a key role.

(Me again: Expect the Warriors to make a play for a Rudy Gay or Andre Iguodala. Or even a third-tier SF type, like John Salmons or Rudy Fernandez. UPDATE: After the new owner is identified.

Why draft another PF when you have two already?

They, simply put, considered Udoh as the best player available and they took the best player. If Monroe was the best player in their mind, they would’ve drafted Monroe, even though that would’ve meant a fourth center (behind Biedrins, Turiaf, Gadzuric). Instead of missing on a guy by filling a need, they wanted to get the best player available in their mind and worry about how it fits later, kind of like Washington did (though on a different level of best player available).  And the reality is, one person said, they have to consider all trades because it is their only means for adding a difference maker. So loading up on talent gives you flexibility to be ready to go either way.

Will Udoh even see the floor?

I was told twice he will. Because he plays both ends, he will see some time. No one expects him to beat out Randolph or Wright, but he will cause them to have to be on their game. And one person pointed out, reluctantly, that no one knows how Brandan Wright will be coming back. That is why he is playing in summer league. He hasn’t played since January 2008. This person made it clear that they expect big things from Brandan Wright and that his progress has been good. But it’s not like an insurance policy is a bad idea.

(Riley said at the press conference that he cam see the Warriors using two PFs instead of a true center because of the length.)

Why not trade up and get Cousins?

Nothing was there. They tried, I was told, but the top five teams weren’t budging.

Why didn’t you draft for potential insted of a 23 year old?

“We just don’t need any more projects.” The sense I got was that management is kind of tired of waiting on guys and developing guys. They want some guys who are ready to play. They will be looking to add a couple veterans, a key one in a trade and maybe a vet with the midlevel, to give the team some level of experience. One person said it was important to give Stephen Curry some reliable horses. He can be even better if they get him some playmakers and consistent performers with him.

Marcus Thompson

  • lobo

    stupid people always contine to do stupid things….thats why….if the draft was over at five then swallow hard and just take a safe pick…someone with some upside who might contribute a bit…henry type if that is what one thinks…this guy ain’t no monster/beast when he get to the 48 minute league.

  • Jesse

    To me this was a good pick. We didnt need another left handed big man that could run the floor. Udoh reminds me of players like Brandon Bass/Paul Milsap/Carl Landry which is exactly what the Warriors need. I’m tired of seeing us getting beat up by a team like Utah. People also said not to draft Dejaun Blair because he’s had two knee surgeries and he’s turning out to be a good player for the San Antonio Spurs.

  • San Francisco Slim

    I understand Riley’s rational, and appreciate his honesty, but his judgement of talent is questionable. Udoh’s rebounding and offensive stats are horrible for a lottery big and he is 3 to 4 years older than the other candidates for the #6 pick. His ceiling is Ronny Turiaf, whom we already have. This is just a waste of a #6 pick. Admittedly there wasn’t a ton of talent after #5 – this is not Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan – but this pick will not help Riley get another job in the league.

  • Gunner

    Cohan, please sell the team already and so your crew can stop hurting it!

    Greg Monroe doesn’t fit the team’s style? What style? Don Nelson will be fired by the new owner anyway.

    And to Riley, what you have done recently has just increased the chance of you getting fired by the new owner.

    Trading Maggette for junk to save cash? The new owner can make his own decision on whether they need to make that trade when they take possession of the team.

    Drafting Udoh over other more recognized players will just make the new owner feel “wtf have you done”.

    Again, please sell the team already and so your crew can stop hurting it!

  • Gunner

    Let’s see what Riley has done in his recent moves:

    - Drafted Udoh
    - Traded Maggette for Charlie Bell + Gadzuric
    - Traded Stephen Jackson for Raja Bell + Radmanovic, and waived Raja Bell
    - Traded Belinelli for Devean George

    If I were one of the bidders, I would have put my bid contingent on Riley stop touching the roster!

  • http://cctimes ECJ

    Man, most of you guys are just straight up whiners. Always complaining, as if this blog is a chance to complain and nothing more. Its really pretty pathetic.

    Everyone complains about Maggette’s “outrageous” contract. So the team trades him and saves a bunch of cap space in the future, and now half of you are complaining. Unbelievable.

    Same with Jackson. Everyone complained about Jackson’s extension. So he gets traded, and the W’s shed his contract, and now you are complaining about the deal.

    Udoh is going to be FAR better than Monroe. Monroe has no passion. You can’t teach that, or “develop” it. Either a guy has it or he doesn’t. Udoh has it; he showed that after he transferred from Michigan to Baylor. He took that team, one nobody had any respect for, and led them to the elite 8. He’s a winner. He works hard. He’s tough. Oh, and his skill set IS NOT the same as Randolph or Wright. Those two are skinny, avoid contact, can’t play any defense, and are considered “super athletic”. udoh is a defense first player, unlike Randolph or Wright. Udoh is an offensive rebound specialist, and has an “emerging” post game. That can’t be said for Randolph or Wright.

    My sense is the Warriors will trade Wright and perhaps Monta for a legit 2 guard or SF.

    Stop whining people.. The W’s are for sale, and they have a nice young core of players.


  • TheDubFan


    Just which players make up that “nice young core?” Curry? Definitely. Brandon Wright? has not played in 2 seasons. Biedrens? Dominated by Carlos Boozer every time they see each other. Dominated by Andre Bynum. Dominated by Amare Stoudamire. I’ll give you Randolph and Ellis but Ellis does not fit with Curry and Randolph issues are, IMO, more Nelson related than anything else. So you have Curry and Randolph (and that’s stretching it by saying that the Randolph we THINK he is is really who he is). Ammo? OK, maybe…but no one is breaking down the W’s door to get him which should lead everyone to believe that at the MAX the jury is still out.

    Then there are the D-Leaguer’s…don’t get duped into the Don Nelson “we can build through the league” program. If that were possible, other teams would be doing it. You don;t build around D-Leaguers in the NBA. Good concept but no successful team has done it yet. Chris Hunter, Miki Moore, Reggie Williams…come on. All good guys who put in a lot of effort last year and they deserve much respect for there heart and character. But I really think you are stretching it by saying there is a “nice young core.” At best there is an unproven young core based on Randolph and Randolph and Curry and Udoh is not enough to take this franchise to .500.

  • MWLX

    Great analysis, Marcus. It makes sense and provides good insight into the thinking of Riley and Nelson, who can make a claim they know what they’re doing after last year’s Curry pick. Just compare their picks with those of Chris Mullen (Ike Diogu, etc.).

    My only reservation is with your earlier post in which you said Warriors fans were disappointed with the Udoh pick. Please don’t confuse a bunch of loudmouths at Oracle with all Warriors fans. I am happy with the pick. A shot-blocker of his ability is going to be fun to watch.

  • A’s in 2010

    Nothing against Udoh. I just hate the way the front office handles things. They’d rather draft an older, NBA ready player who’s upside is a Ronny Turiaf-type. Pass on guys like Aminu who’s a reliable jumper away from becoming an absolute stud. They’d rather sell away 2nd round picks and get someone from the Developmental League who’s already.. developed. It’s just lazy, it’s like these guys want to work as little as possible and cash their checks.

  • aig

    I live here in Memphis and it has been well chronicled here in Memphis that Rudy does not want to play defense. We should stay clear of this dude.

  • The wise

    The warriors should really try and find a way to bring in Al jefferson. I tried it out on the trade machine, and biedrins along with either charlie bell, or azuibuke gets the job done. I also heard a rumor about the warriors having a trade in the works for kenyon martin involving Biedrins and Gadzuric. If we trade beans and bell for Jefferson I would salivate at the thought of trading monta for Mayo and thabeet. Trading for mayo would give up more cap space to bring on a three to go along with the addition of jefferson and have a solid replacement for the loss of monta. I think monta’s better than mayo but theyre not too far apart and mayo contract gives the dubs wiggle room. Now if they were to do what I insisted and trade Beans and a scrub for jefferson, and monta for mayo and thabeet, they should use every bit of cap space they have left to sign paul pierce to play 3.

    1.curry 2.mayo 3.pierce 4.randolph 5.jefferson

    Now thats a team. But riley isn’t “the wise” me so its too logical to happen.

  • haastheman

    I’m tired of hearing how this draft was a five player draft. In every draft there are busts and there are sleepers. A good GM and a good evaluater of talent finds players. When the warriors took Dunleavy with the third pick everybody said it was a two player draft. Caron Butler, Amare Staudamire, Tayshun Prince and Boozer came after the warriors drafted Dunleavy. Boozer and Matt Barnes were taken in the second round.

  • The wise

    Yea haastheman, a few teams who needed point guards passed on curry last year. I know minnesota is regreting it till this day because they passed him twice. Udoh just may be as baller. I can’t call it though because I really havent watched baylor play. All i’ve seen is udohs youtube, and thats the last thing you’d want to judge a player from.

  • DKnight007

    In the great words of one Jim Mora Sr:

    In my Opinion….the Warriors organization just SUCKS!!


    And the fans that buy season tickets are SUCKERS that Warrior management keeps laughing at…all the way to the bank!

  • http://yahoo The Wizard 317

    Except for last year,you get your Warriors hopes up before the draft and it all goes up in flames. Hope Udoh can give productive minutes but I think a trade is coming. All will change after the sale.

  • jackmeyhoffer

    i feel better after this blog. before i just felt that we didnt give a s?/’.now it makes a little more sense.

  • Spenny


  • Fierce South

    This will be known as another wasted pick once the season starts under new management. The new GM and Head Coach aren’t going to be as infatuated with Udoh. In fact, they’ll see Udoh as desirable trade bait. A team with a need for a PF like Phoenix will be interested after they lose Amare.

    Udoh will be stuck to the bench and traded later in the season. What a waste of a draft pick.

  • monpachi

    Might as well rename the title to “Why the Warriors have had 1 playoff season in 16 years”

    Todd Fuller, Adonal Foyle, Ike Diogu, Mike Dunleavy & now Udoh. safe picks that had serious red flags in their college stats.

  • Kobe Bryant

    Kiss my rings, for I am “The King.”

  • TownLove

    These people cryin on here are prob the same ones who were screamin ovr the Curry pick. Sayin ” Wat are they doin, we already have Monta!”

  • MWLX

    TownLove: You’re exactly right, and they’re the same ones who cried about losing Baron Davis, who has proven to be one of the most overpaid, inconsistent players in the league. If only we could take their keyboards away.

  • immafan4ever

    Only time will tell if Udoh will be a good pick. I didn’t follow college hoop so I don’t know his game. Other than Turiaf, the dubs don’t have anyone with a passion to grab rebounds and block some shots in the middle. AB was scared to go to the board out of fear of getting fouled. AR is more perimeter and BW has been hurt so we don’t know what kind of game he has. The recent playoffs have shown that rebounds do matter. Think back to how many games we let slip away because we couldn’t secure one lousy rebound. Let’s give this young man a chance to show his stuff.

  • Jeremy

    I’m coming around a little more on Udoh. Still mad they didnt grab Monroe, but at least his floor is fairly high.

    The Warriors should be talking to Toronto about Hedo to solve their SF problem. I would deal Monta for him straight up, or if they prefer a salary dump Brandon Wright and Vlad or Gadzuric works. I’m sure they’ll be asking for Randolph since they’ve always been high on him, but Randolph should be off limits unless you’re getting an elite big man back. Toss a pick their way along with Wright/Vlad.



  • Earl Monroe

    Rudy Gay is just like Maggette a black hole, and a black hole who doesn’t play defense. Maggette has better stats than Gay and played 10 minutes less per game.
    And believe it or not, Maggette’s assist numbers are better not just last year but over the whole career. Numbers do not lie.

    This team does not need Rudy Gay.

  • Earl Monroe


    Who knows how Udoh is going to turn out
    No issues with trading Maggette-the offense should run better
    Stephen Jackson needed to go

    Not the best of GM’s but way better than St. Jean

    You may be ticked off about Udoh but the other moves needed to be made for
    the team to become Curry’s, that is the reason Maggette was traded so most of the decisions could be made by Curry on the court, now most of the offensive action will be either Ellis or Curry with Randolph cleaning up.

  • Tdubb

    All the whining is funny, Udoh was the correct pick. Monroe is a Nelly kind of guy but they need a beast inside. Physical and willing to push back, like Turiaf. Udoh may not be a star but do you remember a PF named Buck Williams, every team loved him because he did the dirty work, the Warriors need that badly.

    I watched every game last season and I must be missing something but the Warriors rarely got blown out and they usually lost it in the 3rd or 4th when an adjustment was made to expose their lack of physical play. Udoh is physical! Let Udoh play this summer and give him a chance, not a star but solid mark my words.

    Nelly is the problem, playing guys out of position all the time, especially young guys does not maximize their strengths, it exposes their weaknesses and equals losing. His slight of hand is predictable and tired. It all starts with the coach!

    A trade is coming just wait, probably Monta for Gay, Mayo or Igodula with some throw in players. Curry is now the leader and he needs Monta’s playing equal but taller. Remember Monta just bought a big ass house in Memphis, hint hint hint. Find the legit big guard or small forward now watch the wins come. Not championships, it’s the Western Conference.

  • MWLX

    Jeremy: You would trade Monta, who is 24, for Hedo, who is 31, straight up? Get off this board!

  • sartre

    I hope that trade is for Iguodala – strong defender, genuine point forward, and can score in a variety of ways with reasonable efficiency (and only 26). Gay and Mayo have shown up poorly on some defensive stats (they’ve played their part in Memphis being one of the weaker defensive unit). I really struggle to understand all the Gay hype – some team other than the dubs will end up over-paying for him. Mayo probably is a stronger back court pairing with Curry but I like to think we could get better value than him from any Monta trade.

  • Jeremy


    I forgot age is the only really important factor in trades. Thanks for the insightful response.

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  • iwantmythunderbck

    I think good choice by GS our pick wanted to be a Warrior and has a motor, monroe plays more European we need a banger.