Beno Udrih spent last season playing in Lithuania for Zalgiris Kaunas. But before that, the Slovenian guard had spent the previous 13 years playing in the NBA for several franchises, including the Grizzlies.
Originally drafted by the San Antonio Spurs in the 2004 NBA Draft at No. 28 overall, Udrih spent his first decade in the NBA with five different teams before making his way to Memphis. Udrih first came to the Grizzlies off the waiver wire in February 2014.
While he did sign a multi-year deal with Memphis that offseason, he was dealt by the Grizzlies front office along with Jarnell Stokes for Mario Chalmers and James Ennis. In total, Udrih only played in 97 games over part of three seasons with Memphis, making just 12 starts.
However, Udrih was with the team during the height of the “Grit and Grind” era. Though he wasn’t on the team that made it to the Western Conference Finals in 2013, some might argue that the 2014-15 team had its best shot at winning a title to date. Memphis was actually up two games to one on the eventual NBA Champion Golden State Warriors, but that’s another story for another time.
In 97 games with Memphis, Udrih averaged 7.0 points and 2.6 assists per game in 17.2 minutes per game. Outside of this four-year stint with the Sacramento Kings from 2007 to 2011, that might have been his best stretch of basketball in the NBA. Memphis was at the peak of its powers in the West and Udrih had successfully carved out a meaningful rotational role for nearly 100 games.
In 17 total playoff games with the Grizzlies, Udrih averaged 7.7 points and 1.9 assists per game in 17.5 minutes per contest. Though those totals aren’t overly impressive, they are a slight uptick over his Memphis regular season average, meaning that he could be counted on in the early rounds of an NBA playoff team’s rotation.
Overall, Udrih was an average offensive guard coming off the bench, but a slightly below replacement level one on the defensive end of the floor. This led him to being just an average player on a good team. Though he might have won two NBA Championships in three postseason trips with the San Antonio Spurs, Udrih’s role off the bench was key to Memphis’ success in those two seasons.
What helps him achieve “Grit and Grind” status with the club as well as being on two of Memphis’ more compelling playoff teams was his ability to quickly acclimated to the roster and be a bit of a glue guy in the Grizzlies guard rotation. He might have been a better player in Sacramento and had more team success in San Antonio. However, the best combination of both for him obviously came in Memphis.