One of the more surprising moments for me on Media Day was walking upon an interview between Carmichael Dave and Mid-Level Exceptional point guard, Beno Udrih.

It’s no big revelation that Beno was the ire of a lot of fan’s frustration last season and rightfully so. At times, it appeared as if he didn’t seem to care much about basketball success because he hit the jackpot with his 5-year, $30 million contract during the 2008 off-season. The weird thing is by the numbers, Beno had a pretty comparable 2008-2009 campaign with the Kings as he did in the 2007-2008 season when he seemingly came out of nowhere and pleasantly surprised Arco attendees (back when people used to attend the games in person).

Here are his numbers from his two seasons in Sacramento:

2007-2008 Season: 12.8 ppg | 4.3 apg | 0.9 spg | 32 mpg | 46.4% FG | 38.7% 3FG | 85% FT | 2.3 topg
2008-2009 Season: 11.0 ppg | 4.7 apg | 1.1 spg | 31.1 mpg | 46.1% FG | 31.0% 3FG | 82% FT | 2.2 topg

There isn’t a whole lot of difference in the two seasons. But there was clearly something missing in his game. You could see it when you watched his movements and demeanor on the court. He just wasn’t the same confident guy. Tom Ziller did a great “deconstruction” of Beno in a post, showing a correlation between Udrih’s three-point shooting and his confidence as a player. And really, the three-point shooting is the only significant drop off in his production between the two years.

So why was Beno so down last year? Perhaps it was his frustration with feeling that he wasn’t involved with this team at all:

Beno Udrih Frustrated With Last Season’s Confusion from Zach Harper on Vimeo.

While I think a lot of this has to do with sour grapes because of his fall off in fan acceptance and feeling like he was unfairly ignored in the Kings offensive scheme, he could still have a valid point. Monday night, I went back and watched the January 14th game between the Kings and Warriors — a game that went to triple overtime and ended by the hands of John Salmons. The Kings were victorious 135-133 after 63 minutes of basketball. In that game, Beno Udrih played 56 minutes and finished with 17 points and 7 assists. He shot just 7/21 from the field and 0/5 from long range (part of that falling confidence) but there were moments in which he shined.

During his time on the court, Beno was involved in quite a few pick and roll plays. And in those plays, he looked extremely comfortable on the court — much more comfortable than I ever remember seeing him last season. Now, if the Kings ran a Stockton-Malone type of offense with Beno and either Spencer or JT, would Beno Udrih be worth his contract? Probably not. But perhaps, he’s been written off too early by everybody (including myself). I still don’t think he has any business starting in this league but if his role is defined and it’s as the backup point guard, does anybody think that he can be worth more value than frustration for this squad?

Personally, I would much rather watch the point guard combination of Tyreke Evans and Sergio Rodriguez. They have the potential for a lot more firepower and this team needs more than just a competent P&R point man. But this was an educational look into where Beno’s psyche is heading in the second year of an albatrossian deal.

By the way, Ziller’s NBA Fanhouse report of this interview.