Earlier today we selected Baylor big man Ekpe Udoh on behalf of the Bucks in Ridiculous Upside's mock draft, ahead of Luke Babbitt, Gordon Hayward, James Anderson, Larry Sanders, and Hassan Whiteside (among others). Head over to RU for our full rationalization...here's a sample:
Udoh is admittedly a safe and fairly uninspiring pick, the kind of guy far more likely to become the workman-like fan favorite than the jersey-selling cornerstone. On paper he's about the least sexy pick you could imagine: 23 years old, doesn't score much, was garbage at Michigan before transferring to Baylor. And we haven't even mentioned his downright alarming physical resemblance to the inimitable Calvin Booth (red flag!). But he also feels like a reliable, solid value at #15, especially given most mock drafts have been pegging him in the 8-13 range for some time. Those mock drafts could also be horribly overrating him, and it's not lost on me that old players tend to be draft land mines. Still, I'll give the "professionals" the benefit of the doubt, especially considering a) how well Udoh fits the Bucks' roster and b) the front office's predisposition for players who can contribute immediately (Exhibits A and B: Joe Alexander and Jodie Meeks).
Overall, Udoh should provide much-needed depth at both big positions while bringing the sort of complementary skills that can help a veteran team looking to win now. Though his scoring efficiency was notably poor for a man of his size, Udoh also relied more on post and isolation chances than the draft's other bigs, showing off a solid face-up game and a surprising ability to create for teammates as well. Add in his potential as a defender and you have an excellent foil for Andrew Bogut and a nice complement to the Bucks' smallish power forward platoon of Luc Mbah a Moute and Ersan Ilyasova.