Why Anthony Randolph Will Finally Put It Together with Denver Nuggets

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJuly 18, 2012

Mar. 12, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Anthony Randolph (15) against the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center. The Timberwolves defeated the Suns 127-124. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE.
Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE

The 2012 NBA free agency period began with the assumption that the Denver Nuggets would use their amnesty clause on power forward Chris "Birdman" Anderson.

However, it took an act of high-wire deadline decision making to finalize Anderson's release coinciding with the signing of 23-year-old Anthony Randolph as Anderson's replacement.

While signing Randolph gives the Nuggets yet another talented young piece on perhaps the deepest roster in the NBA, his arrival does not come without questions.

The Nuggets mark Randolph's fourth franchise in as many years, and each stop has been a constant vacillation from one extreme to the next.  During one stop down the floor Randolph can look like one of the ten best players in the league, a freakish combination of size, athleticism and pure basketball talent.  Unfortunately, that is usually followed by a stretch of baffling low IQ basketball.  

Mike D'Antoni became so disenchanted with Randolph's inconsistency in New York that he simply stopped playing the former LSU Tiger by the end of his run.  But regardless of his occasional mental shortcomings, Randolph's potential has always been enough to get him another chance.

Randolph's last chance came in Minnesota, where he averaged 7.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 15.2 minutes a night this past season.

While those numbers seem too pedestrian for the Nuggets to give up on a fan favorite like Anderson, Randolph's career 17 point, 10 rebound per 36 minutes stats could make any general manager salivate.  

Seemingly, Randolph is an extended minutes opportunity away from being on the All-Star cusp.

But with Kenneth Faried and JaVale McGee anchoring the starting lineup's interior, Randolph is seemingly out of luck in Denver.  That is until you realize Faried and McGee both play around 25 minutes per night, leaving plenty of time for Randolph to flourish when subbing in for either player.  

That gives the Nuggets perhaps the most athletic and best defensive interior in the NBA with each player having enough spell time to be fresh at all times.

And with legendary head coach George Karl at the helm, Randolph will have the peace of mind to play his game without fear of getting yanked.  Karl's extensive experience dealing with difficult players gives him perspective that few other coaches have, and that can only help Randolph's transition. 

But the most pivotal reason Randolph will come into his own in Denver is one of biology.  Coming into the league, Randolph was one of the youngest players in his draft class and acted like it.  

After an extended five-year maturation process, Randolph is on the cusp of hitting his prime as a player.  Luckily for the Nuggets, they took a chance at the perfect time and will begin reaping the rewards of Randolph's other-worldly talent.