Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

January 5, 2012
Shootaround report: Bucks shorthanded and Udrih returns to Sacramento

The Kings are catching yet another team that is missing some key components tonight in the Milwaukee Bucks, who will be without center Andrew Bogut (personal reasons) and swingman Mike Dunleavy, Jr. (groin).

On their recent two-day road trip, the Kings played the Grizzlies without forward Zach Randolph, and the Nuggets without starting center Nene. The Kings lost both games by double-digit margins.

Bogut averaged 14.3 points and 10 rebounds in the Bucks' first four games before leaving the team prior to its loss to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday. Drew Gooden is expected to start for the Bucks (2-3) at center tonight.

Former Kings guard Beno Udrih's status for the game is uncertain.

Udrih sustained a left shoulder sprain in the Bucks' game against the Jazz. He wasn't participating in the team's shootaround this morning -- during which the news broke that the Kings had fired head coach Paul Westphal -- but he did reflect a little on returning to Sacramento, where he played the last four seasons.

"It's good to be back here," Udrih said. "Four years is basically half of my career in the NBA. I had some good times here and it's good to be back."

Udrih started 64 games and posted career-high averages of 13.7 points and 4.9 assists in 79 games for the Kings last year, but was relegated to coming off the bench late in the season. He was traded as part of the three-team draft-day deal that brought Jimmer Fredette and John Salmons to Sacramento.

Udrih, averaging 9 points and about 18 minutes off the bench in four games for the Bucks, said there are no hard feelings over the end of his time with the Kings.

"Not at all," he said. "It's a business. They could basically send me somewhere I was not wanted, but Milwaukee was a team, they wanted me there. And it's always good to go somewhere you're wanted.

"I mean," he added with a grin, "after I got traded everybody still showed up for my wedding" over the summer in Los Angeles.

In this current Kings team, Udrih said, he sees some of the same growing pains that last year's team dealt with en route to a 24-58 finish.

"I think, here, we had a lot of young guys that wanted to prove themselves (last season), and I think they wanted to prove themselves a little bit too quick," Udrih said. "They wanted to basically turn the page right away.

"You read a book and you want to read 400 pages in one minute," he said. "You can't do it. You've got to go page-by-page, and that's what we had last year, and that's what they're having here this year."

Regarding the news of Westphal's firing, Udrih said: "I was surprised and I'm still surprised. Paul Westphal is a great coach. ... We had a great relationship."

-- Matt Kawahara

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