Rookie Udoh a candidate to play center -- someday

With center Andris Biedrins struggling, many fans have wondered how rookie big man Ekpe Udoh would fare in that role.

Udoh, for one, is certain he can start at center in the NBA. Just not right now.

"One day," said Udoh, who was the No. 7 overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft. "The NBA game is crazy. It's such a great game, I don't think I would be ready to just hop in at that position yet."

Udoh wasn't even second string Wednesday. Dan Gadzuric was the first to relieve Biedrins against the Los Angeles Lakers' sizeable front line.

Still, Udoh has shown promise at center. He is already one of the Warriors' better back-to-the-basket players -- which he showed down the stretch in a loss at Orlando earlier this month. And he is the team's best shot-blocker.

But coach Keith Smart has expressed concern about Udoh going against veteran big men for extended minutes. Smart said he wants to bring Udoh along slowly.

One area Udoh definitely needs to improve if he's going to be a starter is his activity on the glass. He is averaging 2.5 rebounds in 13.5 minutes of action. As a shot-blocker, he often takes himself out of position to rebound. He called it the gift and the curse of being a shot blocker. But he said he has to get better at picking his spots to go for the swat.

"I've got to pick up my rebounds," Udoh said. "It's something I've got to get better at. I've got to stay more in tune."

  • Lakers coach Phil Jackson had high praise for Warriors guard Monta Ellis: "When Monta became a shooter, besides being a driver, it elevated his game in a way which he became unstoppable on certain nights. His speed and quickness to the hoop is remarkable. His growth as a shooter has become apparent, and his ability to play consistently -- I know he's been banged up recently and hasn't felt well -- but his ability to kind of be a leader on the team has really helped him out."

  • Ellis, who missed the past two practices with flu-like symptoms, finished with 23 points on 8-for-12 shooting in the first half. It was the 11th time this season he scored at least 20 points in a half. That ties him for the league high with Lakers guard Kobe Bryant. "... Warriors swingman Reggie Williams participated in the shootaround despite a sore Achilles, but he did not see any first-half action.

    -- Marcus Thompson II