In his recent piece documenting the plight of the Los Angeles Clippers in the Dunleavy era, ESPN’s Bill Simmons included a list of players that he absolutely can’t miss when they come through down. As you might expect, the list included the regular perpetrators that you would always find robbing your team of valuable wins when they visit your hometown. Here is the quote from Simmons’ article:
"Only eight current NBA players qualify for "There's No Way I'm Missing Them If They're In Town" purposes: LeBron, Wade, Paul, Duncan, Kobe, Durant, Howard and, strangely, Anthony Randolph (I will explain some other time)."
For the love of God, Simmons, can you please not keep us Warriors fans waiting in purgatory for what will likely be your most awesome piece to date? I’m as high as the next Warrior fan on the potential of Anthony Randolph, but do you realize the company you just put him in?
This is the second time in as many weeks that someone whose opinion matters has heaped praise on our Great Golden Hope. For those who don’t remember, Lamar Odom recently stated that Randolph had “Hall of Fame potential.” In anticipation of what Simmons will write, here’s what I love about Anthony Randolph…
He plays with his heart on his sleeve—If you’re from the Bay Area, you have in all likelihood been fortunate enough to try the greatest liquid beverage in existence…Hunid Racks. If you haven’t heard of it, let me introduce you to the self-described “energy drink for hustlers.” It tastes great and it gives you more energy than a triple shot of espresso. Now imagine drinking ten Hunid Racks and trying to play basketball. That’s the image I have in my mind when I see Anthony Randolph on the court. He crashes the boards from the perimeter with such ferocity and senseless abandon for his own safety that at times he appears to mirror the traits of a ravenous crackhead. In a good way…
He always looks like he’s crying—Unlike the last sensational rookie the Warriors had nearly two decades ago (C Webb), Randolph looks like he’s crying because he’s passionate about the game, not because he forgot how many timeouts his team had. That’s a good thing. If you care enough about getting a loose ball that you come out with watering eyes, you’re doing something right. Even Don Nelson has started to notice.
He is the next Kevin Garnett—In his '95-'96 rookie season, Kevin Garnett averaged 10.4 points and 6.8 rebounds in 28 minutes for the T-Wolves. This season Randolph has averaged 6.5 points and 4.7 rebounds in 14 minutes. So…let’s double them and see what we come up with. Thirteen points and 9.4 rebounds per 28 minutes. I’m salivating right now at the prospect of how good this kid could be.
He’s already the Warriors second best rebounder—Call me crazy, but it’s true. Who is a better rebounder than him besides Andris Biedrins? No one.
He doesn’t care who you are, he’ll piss you off—Arguably Randolph’s greatest strength has been his ability to challenge opposing players fearlessly. Rookies often shy away from intimidating vets, but Randolph appears to be the 6'10" human fly that just won’t go away. It’s hard to even call it defense, because he mainly just pesters players until they screw up. I suppose you can call it what you want, but it works like a charm. If he keeps blocking shots like he does, then maybe the “fly swatter” is more appropriate.
He survived Don Nelson’s dog house—Very few players have been told they aren’t a good fit for a team and somehow worked their way back into a rotation as Randolph has. At midseason, he looked like the second coming of C-Webb after rumors started circulating he was likely to be moved before the trade deadline. That all changed entirely on the ability of a teenager to act mature and man up to his shortcomings. Randolph fired his agent, worked hard in practice, and made Don Nelson notice that he had changed his ways.
He can handle the rock—How many 6'10" players in the league can dribble like a guard? The answer is very few. While I often find myself holding my breath when Randolph leads the fast break, he has drastically reduced his turnovers in the second half of the season. The thought of Randolph blocking a shot, securing a rebound, and THEN leading the fast break is godly.
He’s got pogo sticks for legs—The biggest knock on Randolph when he came into the league was that his slight frame would minimize his ability to produce on the court. That argument has largely been countered by the fact that Randolph’s slight frame allows him to jump through the roof and block shots. He also hasn’t had much trouble securing rebounds because he’s been relying on athleticism rather than muscle.
He gives Warriors fans hope—As a Clippers fan, Simmons knows how hard it is to stay interested in a team that has become a perpetual loser. However, unlike the Clippers, who have absolutely nothing to hope for, Warriors fans at least have Randolph. If you combine that with Monta Ellis’ recent return to form, and Brandan Wright’s return from injury, we have the makings of a core that could lead us to the playoffs a year or two down the road.
He's 19 years old - The sky is the limit... literally!
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