By Fred Katz
Nov 10, 2015
The Heat have officially acquired Beno Udrih and Jarnell Stokes from the Grizzlies for Mario Chalmers and James Ennis, per Yahoo! Sports/FOX Sports 1 NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski. But how will Stokes and Udrih fit into the Heat, who clearly made this move to shave some tax dollars? Let’s figure that out now:
The 33-year-old Udrih has some years on Chalmers, but he makes about half of the former Heat point guard’s salary for this year. That said, Udrih has proven to be a positive backup point guard in the past, even if he plays a different style from Chalmers, who is far more three-point happy.
While Chalmers is a spacer when he’s playing in his ideal sense (though he hasn’t been all too accurate a shooter in the Post-LeBron Era), Udrih is more of a pick-and-roll facilitator. He’ll pull up off the dribble from inside the three-point line, but he won’t attempt many long balls, even if he is a 35-percent career shooter from beyond the arc. He’s a smart player who tends to make good decisions, but his skill set doesn’t lend him to becoming the most efficient offensive presence, considering he’s most comfortable taking mid-range shots/floaters and doesn’t get to the free-throw line all too often.
Udrih isn’t much of a defender either, but that’s not a huge downgrade on Chalmers, who would struggle when guarding quicker ball guards. In the end, Udrih might actually be a better fit stylistically for Miami. He can run pick-and-roll with Chris Bosh or Hassan Whiteside or Amar’e Stoudemire or Josh McRoberts. And he’s a more competent facilitator than what Miami had at the backup point-guard spot before making the deal, even if he’s not a shooter of Chalmers’ caliber.
Stokes has only played in 21 games over his first two NBA seasons, but he was a second-round pick of the Grizzlies back in June of 2014. Stokes can rebound and actually has decent hands, but he hasn’t proven to be much of a scorer. His feet, meanwhile, are a little clunky, preventing him from becoming the caliber of defender Memphis needed to see to put him into its rotation.
He doesn’t step away from the rim, which would prevent the power forward from ever playing alongside Whiteside (presumably). Realistically, Stokes isn’t playing all too many minutes anyway. He’ll be behind Bosh, Whiteside, Stoudemire and McRoberts in the big-man rotation for sure. It’s possible he also finds himself behind Udonis Haslem and Chris Andersen, two veterans who have seldom played this year.