2. Ekpe Udoh
Ekpe Udoh is a name that’s been thrown out by Rockets Nation over the past several weeks, which makes sense. The Rockets obviously lack size due to the small-ball strategy, and Udoh is a 6-foot-10 big man who can contribute in a number of ways.
Udoh last played in the NBA during the 2018-19 season, when he was a member of the Utah Jazz. After the season, Udoh became less of a need for the Jazz due to the presence of Rudy Gobert, which explains why they opted to not bring him back this season.
Udoh had a stellar season during the 2018-19 campaign, as he averaged 13.4 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks per 36 minutes, which were all career-highs for the Baylor product. Udoh also had a player efficiency rating of 20.9 and a true shooting percentage of 69.8 percent.
These were both career-highs for the 32-year-old big man, and his true shooting percentage was a team-high for the Jazz during that season.
Udoh continued his defensive dominance, as he had a defensive box plus-minus of 5.7, which was also a team-high. This is impressive considering the fact that he fared better in this category than Rudy Gobert, who was the defensive player of the year that season. What’s most impressive about this is the fact that this was the highest DBPM in the entire league last season.
Udoh also had the same defensive rating as Gobert during that season, as the Jazz allowed 100 points per 100 possessions with either of them on the floor, which also shows how valuable he can still be on the defensive end.
Udoh and Gobert also fared similar in terms of their defensive field goal percentage, as Udoh’s was 46 percent and Gobert’s was 45 percent. On the offensive end, the Jazz scored 135 points per 100 possessions with Udoh on the court, which was the highest offensive rating on the team last season as well.
Udoh is currently playing for the Shougang Beijing Ducks, and he’s posted averages of 18.7 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 4.5 blocks per game, while also shooting 60.5 percent from the floor. The Houston Rockets could certainly use Udoh’s size and rim protection, not to mention an additional lob option.
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