Blog Entry

With another chance, Anthony Randolph flourishes

Posted on: March 26, 2011 3:38 pm
Edited on: March 26, 2011 3:46 pm
Posted by Royce Young

He's held the imaginations of basketball junkies captive the past three seasons. He's shown flashes of brilliance, moments of incredible skill and stretches of terrific basketball. He's been mismanaged, misunderstood and mistreated. He's been benched, traded and traded again.

And he's finally getting another opportunity. This time, it might be one that's helps him turn the corner and find the potential we all know he's capable of.

If you love basketball and aren't fascinated by Anthony Randolph, then you may want to re-think yourself. 

If you fired up NBA 2K11 and created a player from scratch, you'd probably wind up with something close to Randolph. Even down to the left hand. He's 6-9, long, absurdly athletic, skilled with the ball and can step out and shooter a good 18-foot jumper.

NBA general managers have seen the same thing. The Warriors drafted him 14th in 2008 out of LSU, but between Don Nelson's erratic rotations and benchings and the fact Randolph was a bit inconsistent in his own right, Golden State traded him to New York as part of the deal that took David Lee out west.

Finally, most thought, in Mike D'Antoni's system Randolph will flourish. He'll settle in behind Amar'e Stoudemire and flash his talents in transition. Except Randolph suffered the same fate. He only appeared in 17 games for New York playing at least 20 minutes only once.

David Kahn targeted Randolph in the three-team Carmelo Anthony deal and nabbed him at the price of Corey Brewer and taking on Eddy Curry's contract. And finally, Randolph was seeing some opportunities. He's been getting routine playing time off the bench, but it wasn't until Love went down with a groin injury a week ago that Randolph saw real opportunity.

And seize it, he has.

Replacing Love in the starting lineup Minnesota's last two games, Randolph put up a career-high 31 points with 11 rebounds against Dallas and then 24 and 15 against Oklahoma City's imposing front line. Wolves coach Kurt Rambis pretty much raved about Randolph's skillset.

"His versatility. You can see that he can handle the basketball. He can put the ball on the floor, create a shot. He can play in areas that make it very difficult for big people to guard him," he said. "With his length and his athleticsim offensively and his ability to handle the basketball and shoot outside, it makes him a very difficult cover for a lot of big guys in this league.

"We want him to be very active and assertive at the defensive end," Rambis continued. "We see him as someone that can play very good on-ball defense and hopefully come from the weakside and block shots and be very well-versed in pick-and-roll situations and possibly even switch on to smaller people."

It's not the first time Randolph has teased us though. With Golden State, he had multiple, random nights of 28 points, 13 rebounds. It just never all came together for him. But think about this: He's only 21. Sometimes things take time. Sometimes, a new opportunity and a change of scenery helps it start to come together.

Thing is, Randolph has looked comfortable, confident. He's appeared very sure of himself and how he fits in. Against the Thunder, Minnesota was running a large amount of their offense through Randolph. He was their option. And it felt good for him.

"I'm going to continue to keep doing what I've been doing," Randolph said. "Even when I wasn't playing, I'm going to continue working hard and go from there.

"I just want to win. Just go out there and play my game, what got me to the league. And I just want to try and win games."

The Wolves have been more competitive than you think they've been at times this year. Yes, they're just 17-56 which is awful, but they've dropped 18 games by six points or less. And seven of those by a single possession. They're a young team that just doesn't know how to win yet.

Randolph has become part of the yearly rebuilding effort around the Wolves. He's not an answer, but he certainly is something. Make fun of the Wolves and Kahn all you want, but let's be honest here -- they have talent. Between Love, Wesley Johnson, Michael Beasley, Jonny Flynn and Randolph, there's a core of young, albeit raw, talent there.

That's kind of become the problem though with the Wolves. It's become a collection of raw gifted players without much direction or plan. It almost seems like Kahn's building plan was grabbing players just like Randolph. But that's no good unless you know get a handle on how to use it all, or even better, develop it.

Kevin Durant came away impressed with the young Wolves Friday night. He said he thought Beasley was the type of player that could lead that young group to the playoffs. Maybe that's just Durant speaking highly of his old friend, but it's not that far-fetched.

Think about the Thunder three years ago. A young collection of talent that needed a direction. Granted, the gap between Sam Presti and Kahn is pretty much a Mariana Trench type of thing, but still. Maybe a better example is the Grizzlies who just needed a veteran that was ready to put it together like Zach Randolph. The Grizzlies were a ship without a rudder two years ago but it's all started to come together a bit with one piece. (And Chris Wallace isn't exactly the best and brightest GM out there either.)

I wouldn't assume that Kahn and the Wolves are counting on Randolph to be a savior or the missing piece (among many missing pieces I guess). But he is something you can build around. The guy has talent. Real talent. He's been held back over the years because inconsistency on his part, low basketball IQ and mismanagement of his talent. Now though, he might be getting it. Maybe. It is just two games. But two very good games.

Enough reason for a little optimism in Minnesota if you ask me. You can't dream of Rubio forever.

Since: Mar 27, 2011
Posted on: March 27, 2011 3:59 pm

With another chance, Anthony Randolph flourishes

Was this inmate release day at one of the New York prisons? These comments are hilarious, especially the one from "nba guru". Yeah, the coach ruined the careers of Eddy Curry and Starbury, two NBA cancers who can't even get near an NBA roster now. If you like eating vaseline, it's a free country, but too much vaseline destroys the brain cells, looks like.

Since: Oct 13, 2006
Posted on: March 26, 2011 7:31 pm

With another chance, Anthony Randolph flourishes

finally someone unerstands that the problem is D Antoni. He took an eddie curry that was perrenially close the league lead in fg% and benched him, he did the same with stephon marbury. Both players were decent untill they had the misfortune of playing for mike. he plays no defense which will really be showcased now that wilson chandler is gone. those who disagree with what i'm saying look at curry's and marbury's career stats pre Dantoni. Now curry doesn't rebound but tell me what is different between him and lopez for new jersey, who everyone seems to think is the next great big man. i believe that new york has lost 5 in a row or something like that. The sooner that new york realizes that that italian is a menace the better. Oh i would love to see curry go to miami.

Since: Jun 18, 2009
Posted on: March 26, 2011 7:30 pm

With another chance, Anthony Randolph flourishes

same thing with the golden state idiots everybody in the bay area new this kid was good but lack of patients by ownership and a GM who fell in love with david Lee .

Since: Jun 18, 2009
Posted on: March 26, 2011 7:28 pm

With another chance, Anthony Randolph flourishes

same with the warrior idiots the whole bay area new how good this kid could be he just needed to grow up

Since: Mar 14, 2010
Posted on: March 26, 2011 6:01 pm

With another chance, Anthony Randolph flourishes

Mike D'Antoni is a self assurred idiot and the Knicks never gave the kid a chance.

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