The Orlando Magic acquired Beno Udrih at the NBA trading deadline, offering the veteran point guard a place to jump-start his career with a larger role. Udrih was unhappy and underused with the Milwaukee Bucks, but took on more responsibility with Orlando, with good results.
|Points Per Game||Assists Per Game||Turnovers Per Game|
|Points Per 36||Assists Per 36||Turnovers Per 36|
|PER||Assist Rate||Turnover Rate|
All statistics in this table from Udrih's player page at basketball-reference. Career-best statistics highlighted in gold; career-worst statistics highlighted in silver.
Udrih's best known for his years starting at the point for the middling Sacramento Kings, where he excelled as a shoot-first operator in the pick-and-roll. He earned the nickname the Tasmanian Slovenian for his whirling drives through the paint, where he'd finish with either hand off a spin move, or with a step-back jumper in the lane.
In Orlando, he changed his style somewhat. Though he still drove aggressively to look for his own shot, Udrih became more of a distributor for coach Jacque Vaughn, his former San Antonio Spurs teammate. His Pure Point Rating of 7.45 led the team and bested those of noted passers like Steve Nash (5.9), Jrue Holiday (4.26), and LeBron James (4.91).
There's more to playing point guard than racking up assists, clearly, and Udrih's biggest issue offensively is the same one which affects Jameer Nelson: Udrih has to do too much for himself. Udrih's 40.8 percent shooting isn't great for a player who doesn't take many three-pointers, and his True Shooting mark of 51.2 percent is a few ticks below league average. Working in Udrih's favor is that he's able to draw fouls more effectively than Nelson, but overall, a player of Udrih's caliber shouldn't have to look for his own shot as often as he did, but that problem again goes back to the lack of talent on Orlando's roster.
Udrih's half-season in Orlando went well enough, and certainly the Magic should consider re-signing him, depending on whom they select in the Draft. There's something to be said for steadiness at point guard, and especially from a backup.