The Udoka Effect

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After an offseason primarily consisting of non-action, the Spurs have finally made a deal that will have an immediate impact on the team this season.
As of yesterday the Spurs have officially signed guard/forward Ime Udoka, reportedly inking the second year player to a two year deal worth around $2 million.
The real question is how much of an effect Udoka will have. This isn’t a major signing, but
from the looks of it Udoka is a solid role player who could fill in the spot behind Bruce Bowen.
His defensive prowess is the most promising aspect of his game. Udoka has already been compared to Bowen or a Raja Bell type defender, which should make him a good fit on a defensive oriented team.
Taking a look at some footage of Udoka, the thing I immediately noticed was his level of activity and hustle. He seems like a good rebounder and a player who gets his hands on the ball on defense. He’s also said to be an effective three-point shooter.
I do have some thoughts about what this does for the Spurs’ rotation, however. If you look at the four veterans who play the wing positions for the Spurs – Ginobili, Finley, Bowen, Barry – and then add in Udoka to that mix, somebody has to be the odd man out.
I’m thinking it will be Barry, and that Popovich will prefer the energy and defense of Udoka to the spot up shooter. If Udoka turns out to be a reliable shooter, he could see his fair share of floor time with the Spurs and make a nice impact.
And finally, let’s established this early. The man’s name is pronounced “EE-may you-DOE-kuh”. He is of Nigerian descent and played for the Nigerian National team in the 2006 FIBA World Championships. He played high school hoops at Jefferson High School in Portland and played college ball at Portland State University.
And I believe the appropriate phrase is, welcome to the Spurs.

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Michael is the founder and editor of ProjectSpurs.com. He has a long history in journalism, sports and online media. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others.

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