The What If All Stars – Anthony Randolph
The second player to make the list just so happens to be a team-mate of the first entrant JaVale McGee.
What if he had Kenneth Faried’s motor?
For a guy who is still only 23 years old, he sure does have high expectations to live up to since he was drafted by the Golden State Warriors in 2008.
Very few players have the package of explosive athleticism, the wingspan of a condor eagle, and comparisons that range from a ball handling point forward to a former MVP and Defensive Player of the Year.
And this was just on draft day coming off his outstanding freshmen campaign for LSU as a 19 year old!
That’s the problem with both player comparisons, and with drafting young players whose talent is dictated by their athleticism.
Randolph undoubtedly has the X factor that scouts look for when they go over prospective players; he checks the boxes, he has the highlight plays, gives the right answers, and they make him a millionaire on draft night.
Randolph is the sort of player that should flourish on a fast paced team as a PF-C who can start a fast-break by grabbing a rebound or blocking a shot, just like Josh Smith does for the Hawks.
In such a short career, he has basically landed on three of the best run and gun teams of the last few seasons: Don Nelson’s Warriors from 2008-2010, Mike D’Antoni’s Knicks in 2010, and now on George Karl’s Denver Nuggets.
He didn’t establish himself as a backup to Kevin Love on the depth challenged Timberwolves in 2011-12 either.
Despite getting spot starts towards the end of the season, putting up over 19 points and 10 rebounds per game, whilst shooting 56% from the field and 80% from the line in three starts.
Again, the talent is there, but he lacks ‘something’.
Kenneth Faried aka The Manimal, aka Randolph’s team-mate, is overflowing with what An-Ran is missing. Intensity, fire, aggression, passion, and a motor that never sputters.
He dives for loose balls, he throws himself into traffic, he takes charges, and he doesn’t stop. His will to do whatever it takes for his team to succeed and his nose for the ball sets him apart from other young power forwards in the league, and you would hope Randolph is taking notes.
The knock on Randolph has always been that he is just too passive and laid-back, it’s just his personality.
Some players are just programmed differently, and no amount of coaching can coax out that spark needed to make a player stand out from his peers.
Gay has proven doubters wrong – he has become a legit go to scorer and a nice defender on a very strong Grizzlies team.
Beasley on the other hand is eerily similar to Randolph; a young, gifted left handed do-it-all forward, drafted in the lottery and seen as a ‘can’t miss’ prospect, but failing to make his mark on any of his three teams.
So why did Faried slip out of the lottery to the Nuggets, gift-wrapped at number 22?
He put up incredible rebounding numbers at Morehead State, ending his four year career there as the NCAA’s all time leading rebounder.
Faried was explosive but scouts listed him as undersized and ‘limited upside’.
Dennis Rodman, Reggie Evans and every other undersized power forward showed you can over-rule the so called ‘shortcomings’ by playing with passion and just grabbing the ball.
Randolph is going down a slippery slope towards the Stromile Swifts and Tyrus Thomas route of unfulfilled potential based on supreme athleticism.
He’s on his fourth team in five years, and the man ahead of him in the rotation possesses the traits he doesn’t.
In 38 career starts Randolph has put up 11.5 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 46% field goal with 81.5% free throws.
The man can play, but while he is in George Karl’s dog-box, Faried is flourishing.
I sincerely hope Randolph does carve out a niche on a team, whether it be the Nuggets or another team who buys the ‘potential’ price-tag.
People forget he’s only 4 months older than Faried, but he’s been in the NBA three years longer than his team-mate.