After all of the hubabaloo about the Pistons last roster spot and Ray McCallum finally winning it, the Pistons cut McCallum anyways and signed Beno Udrih off the waver wire from Miami. This post is doubling as an intro and season preview for Beno.
Here is his shot chart from last year. Small sample size applies to it.
Why did Miami cut him:
This is always an important question for me because it shouldn't usually be a great thing when you sign a guy that got cut by someone else. Honestly, I'm a little bit surprised the Heat cut him. He was on the team for a stretch of last year and has a guaranteed contract as well. And in theory, the Heat don't really have much of a backup to Goran Dragic out of the gate since Josh Richardson is hurt. The main thing against Beno is that he is 34, which is old, and the Heat are not doing so much piling on old guys trying to win any games they possibly can. They may have simply decided they wanted to try and get a bit younger, combined with that Beno perhaps has lost a bit of his abilities in his age.
What happens to McCallum and Brown now?
Well they are both going to have to pass the 48 hour waivers. Since he already had spent the last 2 years there, I would guess the Drive would try and get Brown (plz, I like watching him) although perhaps they will try and get McCallum instead. The wild card of course with McCallum is that this is the first time he hasn't made a roster out the gate, so he may end up going overseas or something, Whereas Brown has already shown that he will probably stick around. Hopefully at least one of them sticks in GR.
What to generally expect from him:
Beno will slot in immediately as the backup PG until Reggie comes back, at which point he will slide into 3rd guard and designated “Old fart” of the roster. Actually he will be the “Old fart” anyways, a full 5 years older than anyone else on the roster, hopefully he can bring a wee bit of veteran leadership and other stuff coaches love to talk about. Which FWIW, does have value.
Beno has one thing that he does really well on offense, hit mid range jumpers coming off a pick. It has been his bread and butter his entire career, particularly from the left side (he is a lefty) he will have the ball, come off a pick, and try and snake his way to about free throw distance and shoot a jumper, he is a sniper from that spot, he also has a decent floater as well. He is nothing special from outside although has generally been a reliable shooter, and he has never been a guy who gets to the hoop a ton. His passing is fine, he has a decent assist to turnover ratio on his career, but don't expect brilliant passes all over the floor or a particularly high volume of assists.
The key for him will be still having the ability in his age to get to his spots on the floor, because he is absolutely lethal from the midrange areas on the left side, at this point it is just a question of whether or not he still has the quicks to get to those spots with regularity.
Um. Not good. He has never been much of a defender, and although I did not watched him all that close last year I would guess that he has fallen off a bit. At the very least he will not usually be undersized against people, but he will probably watch a lot of ball handlers dribble past him this year. The key here is that he has to at least avoid Steve Blake levels of sabatage. Meaning that usually when you have a poor defensive guard it is ok because you can just hide him on a non-threatening player, Steve Blake was so miserable last year that he couldn't even stay in front of the most offensively challenged of players. As long as Beno can avoid that, it should end up being alright.
He is a veteran and has been around the block a few times. From what I can gather he is very likely to start coaching once his playing career is over and Miami was (supposedly) hoping he could become a part of the Miami mafia and join the coaching staff in a year or two. I don't know how much truth there is to Miami hoping he starts coaching there, but when people are talking about how good a coach he will be while he is still a player, that is usually a good sign that he is a good dude who is really smart. So yeah, he should be fine, and as annoying as it can be sometimes, having veteran leadership is a valuable thing.
The important question:
The important question with Beno is this: Is he better than Ray McCallum (or Brown)? I would think he will be, since Beno has been a really solid player for most of his career. We will just have to see if he still has anything left in the tank or not. The only thing that does worry me a bit is the defense, because both McCallum and Brown played pretty good defense in the playoffs, and Udrih is likely to be pretty bad. I just hope that he doesn't become Steve Blake 2.0.
So in conclusion...
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
He is getting to his spots in the midrange and nailing those shots.
Bad offensive players are not burning him regularly.
There are several stories published about how great his veteran presence is.
Run for the hills if:
He can't get to his spots.
He can't guard anyone.
He is basically Steve Blake with hair.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
He ends up being fairly capable on offense and has 4 or 5 games where that midrange shot is a big factor.
The Pistons let Gbinije get a few cracks at PG when Beno can't play enough defense to stay on the floor.
Beno does not finish the year with the Pistons, they trade him after Reggie comes back because he plays well enough to prove he can still be a full time backup. (Absolute shot in the dark here.)
What do you think? Do you prefer him over McCallum? Does Beno have anything left?