At some point prior to the team’s pre-game meeting, which happens before they take to the court to tip-off, coach Keith Smart had a one-on-one conversation with his starting center Andris Biedrins. In the talk, he told Biedrins he was starting rookie big man Ekpe Udoh at center. Biedrins, who has been struggling mightily lately, would come off the bench.
Guess how Biedrins’ reacted.
BIEDRINS: “Before the game, I just really cursed out the coach, first of all. I almost didn’t go on the court. Then guys were saying ‘c’mon, c’mon. It would look bad for our team. So I went out there.”
Yes, he is joking. Biedrins’ reaction was actually the polar opposite. He was accommodating and humble. Then after the game, he spoke candidly about the situation, revealing his insecurities and lack of confidence. One thing is for sure, Biedrins’ struggle is mental and he is frustrated with himself.
BIEDRINS: “I am. I am. I’m trying to find out why (I’m struggling) because physicall I’m feeling so great. I don’t have any problems. I’m feeling well physically. But mentally I just can’t get that thing right. So that’s why me and coach talked and we’ll just try to find some other way to get me back on track. If that means coming from the bench, so be it. It’s no problem for me.”
Smart said his goal is to take some pressure off Biedrins. He hopes the ability to watch the game from the bench at first will relax his big man and take the edge off. Biedrins is in a downward spiral and most of his problem is upstars.
He needs to make a few buckets early to get going, or do something well. But when he picks up quick fouls or miss his first few attempts, or his man is dominating, Biedrins just dives in his head. He gets down on himself, frustrated, and it’s a wrap.
Check out his numbers the last 13 games:
3.1 points on 42 percent shooting with 5.8 rebounds in 19.4 minutes
That’s why Smart had to sit him. Udoh had been playing well and he gives the Warriors’ starting lineup something they need – something from the center position. Biedrins hadn’t been reounding, defending nor scoring well. But Udoh at least protects the rim and is a presence on defense. He’s got to do better than
30 rebounds in two (that woulda been impressive!) 2 rebounds in 30 minutes, though.
UDOH: “That’s terrible. I’ve got to do better than that. It’s awful, period.”
Biedrins acknowledged he could be still clearing the hurdle from his surgery. He said he is physically healthy, but he conceded he may not be mentally recovered.
BIEDRINS: “Maybe, yes. Maybe no. Maybe I was expecting more at the beginning of the season. Maybe I was expecting bigger results for myself. Then I did start the season and I think that kind of got me a little bit. And it would just keep building up. I couldn’t understand why I’m not at the same level I was before the injury. And that’s why maybe I think I’m just getting too tough on myself. … You expect that I’ll go out and have 11 and 11 every game. But when you don’t get it, you start thinking “What’s wrong with me” and getting upset about that.“