In our endless search for a power forward for our team the Warriors, we have come up with literally hundreds of trade scenarios and draft possibilities. Less than five months ago we drafted 18-year- oldAnthony Randolph, all 6'10" and 197 pounds of him, making him the youngest player in the NBA.
The majority of Dubs fans watching the draft were turned off by the selection because of the comments made by NBA draft analyst Jay Bilas. As video played of the skinny power forward, Bilas stated that Randolph was "painfully thin and makes Brandan Wright look like Mr. America."
Like Brandan Wright, he was labeled a project player at least 2-3 years away from being able to contribute anything of significance. Immediately after the draft, writers were hesitant to praise the Warriors for their draft because of Randolph's physical similarities to Brandan Wright and slight build. The Warriors were applauded for the selection of second round pick, Richard Hendrix, who was called a 2nd round steal, which lessened the sting from the drafting of Anthony Randolph in the 1st round.
Feelings of angst subconscioulsy settled on the psyche of the Warriors faithful in regards to the selection of Anthony Randolph at 14.
During the start of the summer leauge most Warrior fans were excited to watch the play of last years first round draft picks Brandan Wright and Marco Belinelli and this year's second round pick Richard Hendrix, who was being compared to 2006 2nd round stand out Paul Millsap. There was little excitement about Randolph and the post draft comments made by Chris Mullin in regards to Randolph possessing "star quality" were interpreted as words used by Mullin to justify the pick.
His comments were dismissed as hogwash and typical GM speak for a project player. In turned out the Chris Mullin was not lying about Randolph and his star quality.
After the first Las Vegas summer league game what was more impressive than Randolph's stat line; 30 pts, eight rebs, two steals, two blocks, was how he obtained those stats and who he was matched up against.
Randolph faced second year players Thaddeus Young and Jason Smith. In Young and Smith, Randolph was not playing against the typical summer league fodder. Combined, both these players averaged close to 40 minutes a game during the regular season and the playoffs for the 76ers.
Randolph played like Lamar Odom—a 6'10" player who rebound, pass, dribble and shoot. He shot lights out going 12 of 18 from the floor. His first game was no fluke as Randolph finished Vegas with averages of 21 pts, eight rebs, one steal, one block, shooting 85 percent from the free throw line and continued his stellar play in Utah where he was able to increase his assists to 3.3 per game.
Beyond the skills, he displayed toughness and fearlessness attacking the hoop averaging 9 free throw attmpts per game.
After the summer leagues, many people have labeled Randolph as a small forward due to his size and skills as to power forward.
One thing people fail to recognize is that Anthony Randolph is the perfect power forward on a team coached by Don Nelson. Don Nelson loves the mismatch. Randolph will have the offensive adavantage every time down court and will be able to spread the floor and draw the teams opposing power forward out of the lane.
Don Nelson's last team, the Mavs had Dirk Nowitzki at power forward whom Don Nelson traded for. In the mid-90's, undersized shooting Tom Tolbert played the power forward spot. More recently Don Nelson brought back Chris Webber in an attempt to fill the void at power forward, coveting Webbers' passing and shooting ability, two skills Randolph has displayed in the summer league.
But is Randolph ready to play power forward for the Dubs? There's obviously tons of room for improvement, but offensively he can more than hang. Defensively he needs to gain more weight, at least 10-15 pounds this year. Height and length wise, there is no doubt that Randolph could play the power forward position as he is taller and longer than Brandan Wright and the scary thing is that he is still growing and has another inch or 2 of growing left in his body.
So with all this talk about the need for a power forward, the Warriors may have finally find the "perfect" power forward in Anthony Randolph. He may not be ready this year, but in his second year look for Randolph to take off much like Garnett and Nowitski did their second years in the league. We can only hope that he has the desire and work ethic to be great.
This was written a few months ago, so far Randolph has not exceeded my expectations. I didn't think he was going to be such a black hole, and I thought he'd get to the line more and would be given some set plays in the post as he displayed post game/post moves during the summer league. Still, the potential is there and he definitely has the desire to be great.