Warriors call up Kelenna Azubuike from the D Leauge

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 2:10 pm
WHAT DOES EVERYONE THINK OF THE SIGNING? HIS NUMBERS IN THE D LEAUGE LOOK VERY IMPRESSIVE...26.2 ppg, 5 rebounds, 3 assists....


Former Kentucky guard Kelenna Azubuike introduced himself to the Warriors last year by scoring 25 points against them in a summer-league game. Five months later, it's the Warriors' turn to introduce him as their newest player.

Azubuike, the NBA Development League's top scorer, was scheduled to meet the team in Oklahoma City late Monday and be in uniform for tonight's game against the Hornets.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound guard still needs to pass his physical and finalize a contact, but he has already received an amusing stamp of approval from Warriors' vice president Chris Mullin and coach Don Nelson.

"Mully called me on New Year's Eve and asked me if I liked sambuca, and I said, 'Yeah,' " Nelson recalled. "And he went out there and signed this guy, Azubuike.

"I thought it was a drink, and he was talking about a player."

All kidding aside, Azubuike figures to get a decent look from the Warriors, who are down to just Baron Davis and Keith McLeod in their injury-depleted backcourt. Guard Jason Richardson is out at least a month after breaking his right hand Saturday; Monta Ellis remains sidelined with a right shoulder contusion; and reserve Anthony Roberson is still wearing a boot to protect his sprained big toe.

With swingman Mickael Pietrus playing mostly at the forward spots, Azubuike should give the Warriors' guard rotation some much-needed size and depth.

He is the D-League's leading scorer with a 26.2 points per game, shooting 51 percent from the field and 49 percent from three-point range. He averaged 5.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game for the Fort Worth Flyers.

Azubuike went undrafted in 2005 after leaving Kentucky as a junior and had preseason stints with the Cavaliers that fall and with the Rockets in 2006. He was playing for the Nuggets' summer-league entry when he had his breakout game against the Warriors.

His arrival puts Roberson's future in jeopardy, as the Warriors are expected to enter the luxury tax if they keep their current non-guaranteed players -- Azubuike, Roberson and Matt Barnes -- past Jan. 10, when deals become guaranteed for the rest of the year.

Barnes has made himself virtually indispensable with his hustle and long-range shooting. Roberson has been inconsistent at best and currently is nursing a sprained big toe, though a team official said the injury should not affect any decision-making by the Warriors.

Friday is the first day teams can sign players to 10-day contracts, so there is a chance Azubuike will be cut this week, then resigned to a 10-day deal, if the team wants a few extra days to evaluate him and Roberson before committing to either one.

Azubuike is the Warriors' second venture into the D-League. Golden State called up guard Will Bynum last March after Davis was shut down for the season with a sprained ankle.

Bynum also had been leading the D-League in scoring and was later named its MVP for the 2005-06 season. He appeared in 15 games for the Warriors before being waived in July. He is currently playing for Israeli team Maccabi Elite.

Briefly: Richardson and Ellis did not travel with the Warriors. ... Roberson did some light shooting drills during practice Monday, but is not expected to play tonight. ... Rookie Patrick O'Bryant begins his assignment this week with the Bakersfield Jam, the Warriors' D-League affiliate. O'Bryant will be playing under former UCLA coach Jim Harrick and is expected to make his debut Thursday when the Jam host the Austin Toros.
CHRIS MULLIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 3:06 pm
I don't know this guy. Why isn't he already in the NBA? What is his weakness? There are a lot of guys that can shoot the ball :roll:
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 5:48 pm
Ah, so TMC's pick to come back, Andre Owens, did not. Interesting. But even with the number of bodies down, I doubt this kid will average more than 10-12 minutes a game. That should be about expected really.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 7:08 pm
It's early, but it looks like he knows his way around the court and isn't intimidated. He could prove to be valuable depth.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 9:45 pm
He plays decent defense. He does give just a bit of space for his opponent to launch on him, but he knows how to close out and keep his opponent from driving.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 10:09 pm
So far, he's showing me more than Roberson ever has.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 11:17 pm
The deadline for guarenteed contracts is coming up Jan. 10. So every player's contract is guarenteed after that. So the Warriors have until then to decide who they would like to keep that doesn't really play. But I doubt they'll cut anyone. Even Roberson.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 1:15 am
I Saw him play live this summer in Vegas and he was impressive, Krazy Hops too :!:
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 9:03 am
I noticed that he is a big guy. He looks to be a very physical type of player. We could always use more of those types of guys. If he can give us the outside shooting that Roberson gave us, plus size, i think he will be an asset.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 9:08 am
#32 wrote:So far, he's showing me more than Roberson ever has.


Yes, he looks smooth, can drive, shoot and rebound. More subjectively, he looks calm and aware. I think we may have another Barnes here, a good player out of nowhere. Only one game though, against a bad team.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 9:09 am
ReginaldLewis wrote:I noticed that he is a big guy. He looks to be a very physical type of player. We could always use more of those types of guys. If he can give us the outside shooting that Roberson gave us, plus size, i think he will be an asset.


He already looks better than Roberson. I never saw anything special in Roberson, other than (at times) his shooting. I'm surprised they didn't recall Andre Owens... but this Azujhvlkzxjgklsbike guy looks decent at least. Good move with so many injuries to our backcourt.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 9:27 am
ReginaldLewis wrote:I noticed that he is a big guy. He looks to be a very physical type of player. We could always use more of those types of guys. If he can give us the outside shooting that Roberson gave us, plus size, i think he will be an asset.



That's right! Another multitalented player would only make the team stronger and he will likely get some opportunities over the next week
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 2:12 pm
I remember reading about this guy during the Rockets training camp. His coach in college said he "looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane." The way Barnett was slurping his smoothness on his dunk reinforces his college coach's words. I guess it could also mean he plays "soft."

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 3:45 pm
Dude looks like he has some game. Sure has an NBA body. Looks like hes pretty athletic too judging by that one break last game. Didnt really get a feel for his shooting ability seeing as he only shot from the outside once and missed it. With everyone out right now why not give the kid a chance?

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 3:46 pm
actually…we really don't need roberson, cuz barnes has turned out to be a terrific 3pt shooter; and ass-n-booty looks pretty versatile.
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