Posted by: Kingsguru21 | November 7, 2009

When are the least valuable assets valuable?

Awhile ago around the trade deadline, TZ had a post about ranking the Kings assets.

A couple things he noted:

2. 2009 first round pick. The question I asked myself in ranking No. 1 — if the team had lost this pick in a previous trade, would I trade Kevin Martin to OKC for its first round pick? I said no. But I did think about it. Am I a bad person? (I am a bad person.)

And:

11. Everything else, the slop bucket.

Now, I know I’m not smart enough to come up with my own idea’s, but I’m pretty proud of this piggybacking. It makes me feel a smidge smart.

Kenny Thomas has some value as an expiring contract. Here’s the problem with that though: If you’re an expiring contract, it’s very hard to get something of value with an expiring contract in return. If that player does come, it’s because he’s having difficulties with his own team.

In otherwords, unless the Kings are taking on long term money with K9’s contract, what exactly does he bring besides a few rebounds and low post defense for a few minutes? (Not much really.)

As I’ve said before, if K9 gets moved it’s because he’ll be part of a larger package that includes Andres Nocioni.

But, I suppose I got sidetracked. So moving ahead.


******

The argument that Kevin Martin is soft (or brittle would be closer to the way I feel about it) has brought about a ton of circular, old, and boring arguments out on why he should be traded.

Then of course trading Martin for someone better comes up. Joe Johnson and Andre Iguodala were mentioned.

Bleh. (And I love both guys game. But, they are not exactly a high quality fit here.)

******

Let me get back to the original point. If everyone else is in a slop bucket, that means players like Beno Udrih don’t have very much value to the Kings team. Or, do they?

Think about it this way. As long as you have Udrih, and as long as he remains one of your best 3 G’s who can impact the game (which is obvious it’s true with Beno), than in fact while Udrih remains overpaid, he also remains at least as valuable to the Kings as anything they can get back in a trade.

Would the Kings trade Beno right now for Matt Carroll? No. Because Beno and Tyreke Evans can play together. In fact, Beno can run off the ball as well as he can by playing with it. (Maybe better.)

Say whatever you want about Beno Udrih, his past mistakes and failures, but any backcourt player paired with Tyreke Evans must be proficient from the outside. This isn’t my opinion; it’s a must stemming from the reality that exists with Evans’ strengths and weaknesses on the court.

In light of Kevin Martin’s recent injury, how valuable would Beno Udrih to, say, half the teams in the league? Probably not very much at all actually. Probably a lot less than that, too.

That misses the point.

Beno Udrih doesn’t have to be valuable to any team in the league to be valuable. He has to be valuable for the Kings in being able to play with Martin and Evans in the backcourt. When needed, he needs to be able to start and play off the ball. He needs to run the offense as well as he can while on the court.

I expect to see a lot of people complaining about Beno for the next 2 months. That Sergio Rodriguez should get more minutes because he’s better at running the team and what not. That the Kings lack court vision, like with Martin & Evans as a pairing, also could exist with Beno and Tyreke as a the new backcourt duo for our beloved dipshits.

Furthermore, what will be ignored is that Sergio can’t shoot, and thus pairing him with Tyreke means you have 2 G’s who can’t be counted on a reasonable level to shoot from beyond 15 foot at any point. That’s not exactly a winning combination.

Whatever issue people have with Beno Udrih (contract, too soft, has too many emotional issue’s), this is a perfect time to start reconciling yourself with what Beno Udrih is.

I don’t know that Beno Udrih will play magically for the next 2 months in the starting lineup. I don’t know that Beno will be anything other than the up & down player who hasn’t figured out how to bring what he needs to do consistently.

On the other hand, I also know there isn’t a better player the Kings could acquire to pair with Evans for the short term. Udrih’s value may never be recognized by most fans, but it says here that he brings some insurance for the Kings off the bench in terms of injury.

Had Francisco Garcia been healthy, this combination would even be more potent. The opportunity to make oneself valuable is limited in the NBA. This is Udrih’s last real chance to make himself a competent, reliable rotation player before he sinks into Kenny Thomas territory. A year, or two, of consistent performance would make Beno Udrih’s contract not only less of a problem, but far more of an asset moving forward.

Players like Udrih who can score, and shoot, are not a completely available commodity. The Clippers are running Sebastian Telfair, and while I think he could improve with time it’s very unlikely that Telfair will become more than what he already is. It’s very true there are at least 3 players in the KIngs backcourt I’d rather have on the court than Beno: Evans, Martin and Garcia. It’s also true that with Garcia and Martin sidelined at the moment, it’s going to be a bit tough justifying how you don’t play Beno major minute’s at one of the G spots for the next 2 months.

If you’re the Kings, and you want to keep Martin on the roster because when he plays he has high value as a shooter, you probably need to have depth. (Which you know doesn’t ever hurt your team in the quest to become a playoff, and ultimately, a championship team.)

Sometimes, your mistakes aren’t as stark as the expectations from those who believe more should be had. Every fan wants their team to win every game hell or high water. (Except me. I want the team to win 20% of their games this year, 55% of their games next year, and 57% of their games the year after that.)

If you read Ailene Voisin’s column today, than you now that Tyreke Evans and Beno Udrih said that Beno is the PG.

Great. Beno you be the PG even though you’re running off screens and what not off the ball. You do that boy!

Nevermind that Evans has always been a guy who has had the ball in his hands as a player. Running him off the ball so Beno Udrih can be the PG? Brilliant idea.

Nevermind that the most successful teams for the Kings this decade featured a PG like Mike Bibby who was main skill was shooting the ball. (He also didn’t facilitate a lot of the Kings offense either.)

Actually, it might not be such a bad idea. When this doesn’t work as well as some (Ailene Voisin) are expecting, they will proclaim Tyreke Evans a bust, and we can all go about figuring whether Evans can run an offense effectively.

Or, maybe we can figure out another solution that incorporates Evans as part of the offense, but simply doesn’t ask him to carry as much of the offense as the Kings have asked in the last 5 games. (Or maybe we can meditate and recognize it takes awhile for young G’s to adjust to the league.)

There is an alternative. The Kings could play Beno on the ball some, play Evans on the ball some, and perhaps get Evans to recognize that certain shots are not as good as others. If you’re looking for some value, this could be it. Sometimes watching another player direct the offense while you’re on the court can help you recognize how you should be doing it better.

As such, you can look at this as another valuable asset that Beno Udirh brings to the table. While he’s not Kevin Martin in terms of shooting or threat, he is a far better shooter at this stage from 3 point land than Tyreke Evans is. (Which is saying something given Beno’s own difficulties.)

If Evans can play off the ball effectively in the NBA, it may mean that running out Martin & Evans means you have to have a facilitating SF at all times. (And, this is shocking why?)

What I know is that Beno Udrih’s presence on a team where most fans wish they could trade Beno away for an expiring contract, is something of an unusual commodity, and the ever-present “luck” variety. Sometimes a signing, like Beno’s, doesn’t work on face value because the player doesn’t perform as well as he should as consistently as he should. (Ah, that’s our Tasmanian Slovenian to a Tee.) On the other hand, with Beno Udrih around, perhaps the Kings can afford to absorb the loss to their best player for the next 2 minutes and figure out some issue’s with young talent (like Donte Greene and Omri Casspi), how players fit together without Kevin Martin around, and figuring out how to play with each other.

Let’s assume that the world does not fall off it’s axis. Let’s assume that Beno Udrih is still a somewhat starting caliber PG some of the time. Let’s assume that Evans still has considerable upside that has not translated as smoothly in the previous 5 games as Charles Barkley’s NBA knowledge. (Hardly shocking giving Evans style and the demands the Kings were asking of him.)

Let’s assume the Kings have nothing to lose by playing Greene mins in the spots where he can perhaps ‘get the gettin on’ with his NBA career. Let’s see exactly what positions and skills Omri Casspi brings to the table before we anoint him a poor man’s All-Star.

Where Kevin Martin being out for 2 months is probably not good for the overall competitiveness of this team, it is possible that the Kings benefit by giving Casspi a ton of minutes (He hasn’t played as well as many fans think he has), having Udrih run some of the offense with Evans on the court, and, who knows, maybe Spencer Hawes and Jason Thompson put together solid outings consistently AND together.

Either way, injuries happen in the NBA. Figuring out what players could work together in combinations is something that Paul Westphal and his staff have to figure out. While this situation is never ideal in the NBA, sometimes the silver linings, the one’s we have to look extremely deep in our souls for, or risk being called a crackpot, are the real reward here.

I miss Speed.

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Responses

  1. […] already talked about Beno Udrih enough today. And ditto with Donte Greene […]

  2. Nice article. Love the Split Enz, brings back memories.

    • Thanks Kfan. It’s kinda funny about the Split Enz. I originally wasn’t going to put it on there, but the song came on the station I was listening to. I was like Yeah!

      Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. 🙂


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