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2015-2016 Memphis Grizzlies Player Preview: Beno Udrih

Last season, Beno provided meaningful minutes at backup point guard for the Memphis Grizzlies. This year, he'll be relied on even more for valuable minutes after the departure of Nick Calathes.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Beno Udrih played 79 regular season games for the Grizzlies last year, averaging 7.7 PPG in 18.9 minutes per game. He really seized the role of primary backup point guard from Nick Calathes, who left the Grizzlies this past summer. But now Beno will be relied on more than ever before. He's made it clear that he loves it here in Memphis, and the fans have wholeheartedly embraced him. He contributed significantly in the playoffs before an injury seemed to hamper his shot and overall performance, particularly in the Golden State Warriors series. With Mike Conley's injury in the Portland Trail Blazers series, Beno tried to step up, but struggled with his nagging ankle injury. In June, he underwent successful ankle surgery and is expected to be ready to go for training camp.

Offensively, Udrih has a specific skill set. Last year, Beno shot only 26.8% from three. However, shooting from mid-range is Beno's bread and butter. This last postseason, Beno had an incredible series against the Portland Trail Blazers before his injury. He scorched them with his leaning jumper. This season, he needs to improve his percentage beyond the arc and continue to have a consistent jumper for the Grizzlies, who enter this season still lacking shooting.

Now that Nick Calathes has left the Grizzlies' roster, it's Beno's time to cement himself as primary backup point guard. Behind him, Russ Smith will be waiting in the wings for any opportunity to play. Smith proved himself in the Orlando Summer League as he sunk two game winners for the Grizzlies during the tournament. But if Beno can continue to be a steadfast backup for Mike Conley, then he will undoubtedly continue to receive large amounts of playing time.

Something Beno lacked last season was solid defense, which was something Nick Calathes excelled at. Udrih had an underwhelming defensive rating of 105 per 100 possessions. During the playoffs, Beno struggled when guarding Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry, and this fact was especially exposed during Conley's absence due to injury.

Although Beno lacks some skills defensively, he excels at mid-range jumpers and running the offense for the Grizzlies. Last season, he had an impressive offensive rating of 108, and he shot 48.7% from the field. In fact, he shot 51.1% when shooting 16-23 feet from the goal.

So while Grizzlies fans wish Beno could shoot better from behind the three-point line, his mid-range jumper is still extremely valuable. Udrih also averaged 2.8 assists last season, and he can play well with both the first and second units. His veteran presence is especially helpful to the less-experienced second unit.

Beno Udrih's Ceiling:

Beno Udrih solidifies his role this season and improves his shooting beyond the arc. He'll continue to have a consistent mid-range jumper and dish out sweet assists to his teammates, all while his surgically-repaired ankle stays healthy.

Beno Udrih's Floor:

Beno's shooting numbers drop, and his ankle ends up being a nagging issue. Russ Smith gets his chance to be backup point guard, and Beno fades into the background. His shooting beyond the arc continues to be disappointing, and his playing minutes are decreased.

Likely Scenario:

Beno will more than likely continue to be steadfast with his jumper, and his shooting beyond the arc will probably stay about the same as last season. Hopefully, his ankle will be fully healed up and won't be an issue, and he'll continue logging big minutes for the Grizzlies.