Almost a week ago, after the Man Who Would Be King announced he was heading to Miami to party…sorry, play with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the New York Knicks completed a sign-and-trade deal with my beloved Golden State Warriors. The deal netted us David Lee in exchange for Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf, and Kelenna Azubuike.
I’ve already written about the deal from the Warriors' point of view (basically, I love it) but I felt it was my civic duty as a basketball fan, and someone who’s watched all three of these guys grow, to give Knicks fans a heads-up on what they can expect from their new acquisitions.
Okay, let’s get one thing straight. You are gonna love Turiaf.
He’s an excellent character guy, a great locker room presence, a terrific community outreach bloke…in short, he’s the kind of guy every team needs at least one of. It’s impossible not to love him. In fact, the only part of this deal that saddens me is that we let him go.
On the court, he’s not much on offense, so as long as you don’t expect too much from him on that end, you’ll be fine. Nor is he a great rebounder—this could be a problem, since you traded away one of the best in the league at crashing the boards for two bigs who tend to be inconsistent on that end.
He is a solid, defensive big man who can bang at both ends, protect the rim, and set screens (obviously useful considering you guys have Mike D’Antoni as your coach).
Considering you have Amar'e, I’d guess Turiaf’s offensive limitations are forgivable. He can also run the floor as well as any big man in the league—this is obviously useful since he’s going from the fastest offense in the NBA to the second-fastest (or the other way around).
In short, as long as you don’t expect him to become Patrick Ewing 2.0, you’ll love Ronny Turiaf.
I’m not sure how much play you’re going to get out of Buike, because his knees are up caca creek right now and I don’t know when he’s going to be fully fit.
Either way, he’s another solid role-player type you guys will love. He can cover both twos and threes (although he’s a little undersized for SF), shoot threes, play good perimeter D, and really catch fire on offense (just ask George Karl). D’Antoni will surely find room for him in the rotation.
Plus, he’s another good guy who you guys are going to love.
I saved AR for last because obviously I’m gonna spend the most time on him.
Golden State fans were and are bitterly divided over Randolph. Some believe he’s a potential top 10 player, while others believe he’s a bust waiting to happen.
I personally fall into the latter camp for two reasons.
1) He’s a bit of a head case.
2) He has a very low basketball IQ.
The first is easier to rectify; however, I’m not sure if New York is really the place where he can do that.
You guys are tough. No question about it. I remember watching Knicks games last year and hearing you boo your own team. The expectations you guys have even after a pretty lousy decade are high.
Randolph, meanwhile, has shown a willingness to complain publicly about his coach and the fact he feels he wasn’t getting enough playing time.
Now, we all know that Don Nelson is a few sandwiches short of a picnic these days, but however you look at it, a rookie publicly whining about his lack of PT doesn’t look good.
Plus, he’s also shown a tendency to break down and make bad decisions on the court, which ties in to part two—his abysmal basketball IQ.
Randolph is a terrific athlete with good ball handling skills for a big man. However, he often seems to think he’s a shooting guard in a skinny power forward’s body. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cringed as I’ve seen him try to beat his man one-on-one before launching an ill-advised 15-footer which almost always misses.
On this point, his J has some potential, but he fires up so many bad shots it’s nearly irrelevant. He almost never passes the ball (even when he’s double-teamed) and always looks to play iso-style. Which is all well and good for streetball, but not so much for the NBA.
The worrying thing for you guys is that basketball IQ generally isn’t a skill that you gradually develop. It tends to be there or it isn’t. Randolph doesn’t seem to have much of it.
Please be gentle with him at first. Even though it may sound like I’ve been pretty hard on him, I do think he’s a nice kid who could be great if his skill can ever catch up to his physical abilities.
That said, though, prepare to be very frustrated and give up on him about 17 times every season.
Good luck. I'll be watching closely for sure. And I hope Amar'e posterizes Bosh when the Knicks eventually play the Cold.