The Spurs' apathy towards Beno Udrih was a bit puzzling. I can only assume Gregg Popovich's love/hate relationship with Beno Udrih began in a comedic sequence of misunderstandings, not unlike a Ben Stiller movie or any episode of Three's Company. Or maybe it's difficult to endear yourself to a guy named after a popular flatulence aid. We may never know.

After stringing together a series of respectable campaigns off the bench in 2004 and 2005, Gregg Popovich rewarded Beno with the opportunity to split his 12 minutes per with famous vegetarian and scrimmagin' dud Jacques Vaughn. The inevitable alcoholic depression led to Beno posting career lows in every conceivable statistic (even his technicals were down).

Beno's NBA career came to an apparent end when he was dealt to Minnesota for a protected second round pick (i.e. the Spurs and the Wolves agreed that trading Beno for a throwaway 2nd rounder was a bit of a gamble). Spurs fans rejoiced. Wolves GM Kevin McHale took a long look at the Marko Jaric-Sebastian Telfair tandem, concluded that there is nothing to improve on, and waived Udrih before his plane landed in Minneapolis.

Beno was sitting at home in Slovenia (we assume he was crying softly into his Laško or playing Bordunske Hero III on the Playstation, but we're probably wrong) when the Kings called. One month later, Beno is making minimum wage and posting stats nearly as good as that $13 million dollar Mike Bibby guy he replaced. Did I mention he was out of the league a month ago and is making the league minimum?

But our good friends at Sactown Royalty remain unimpressed. While they agree Benomania is making Mike Bibby expendable, they don't think he is the long-term solution at the point. I think this is a bit harsh. After all, Beno is giving them 15 ppg and 4 assists per while shooting 38% on threes, all without the benefit of a training camp, pre-season, or even knowing the King's offense. He's still young (25) and, as of Saturday, has only notched his 21st career start. If he doesn't improve one iota over the next five years, he's already light years ahead of the slugs teams are hanging their hats on this year (Earl Watson, Sebastian Telfair, Steve Blake, Rafer Alston, Anthony Johnson, Jason Williams, etc.).

(hat tip: Hemotivo)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
I think most Sacramento fans appreciate Beno's offerings, and have since his debut. We aren't falling over ourselves because we know there's a likelihood he's a rental. He's a step below Calderon, Ellis and Louis Williams as a young, affordable PG, but that's not shabby. We like him plenty.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I looked over the IVU's website and checked out their lists of vegetarians. They claim the lists are in "good faith" and acknowledge that people whose names are not in boldface were possibly never vegetarians.

That's cool and all. But still, Larry Bird? This website definitely came out after the 80's and early 90's. Did they not see him playing an intense game of HORSE with MJ over a Big Mac? Did they not see his McDonald's commercial promoting his own quarter-pound cheeseburger with bacon that's "purty tasty"?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
he had a bad finals against the pistons in 05, which led to popovich losing faith and going with nick van exel in 05/06, even though the bean burrito was outplaying him often. this lead to him putting less effort in and partying too much, which never sat well with the team and further slid him down the rotation. his defense has never been great, which doesn't help on the spurs.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
thats some amazing detective work on jacques vaughn. i couldn't understand why i had this automatic hatred for him all these years, thanks for clearing my conscience

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Beno Udrih is averaging 4.5 assists in 35 minutes, along with 3.5 rebounds. What do they expect, some unholy final-form bastard child of Steve Nash and Jason Kidd? Last season Bibby averaged only 4.7 assists per game. Some people are just never happy.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Beno is a really underrated player in my opinion. I always thought it was foolish for Pop to put the backup PG duties in the hands of Nick Van Useless in 06. Beno did a great job for the Spurs in 2005, all the way up to the finals when he had 2 bad games against Detroit, then it was like he fell off the face of the earth as far as Popovich was concerned. Beno is a valuable addition to any team, I strongly believe that Beno having the personality he has just did not respond well to Pop's militaristic coaching style.

Blogger Robert Smodej said...
Author of this article must be full of complexes, becouse maybe he never got the shot to be somebody important...
Beno is hard-workin man, like whole his family, who put on the gamble all their hopes and expectations for their two boys .
And it payed of.
I think that it is success if somebody (big nobody) like the author, is lookin at him with jealousy, and lives with amount of money whole year, same as Beno spends in a week for his dogs!

Beno isnt named after a popular flatulence aid, becouse we in Slovenia dont have such problem, couse we look what we eat. Now you know!
Robert Smodej