Player Analysis

The curious case of Anthony Randolph

Does anyone out there know how good Anthony Randolph is? This is not a rhetorical question; I really want to know.  #NBARank says he’s the league’s 220th best player, a solid 4.18 out of 10. But Randolph somehow both much more magnificent and more underwhelming than that.  Is he the dude who dropped 31 points on the Mavs (on only 14 shots) and who laced the Pistons with a steady stream of melted-butter turnarounds, pivots and spinning jump-hooks? Is he the lost soul with the glazed 12-hours-of-Playstation eyes who narcotically floats through entire quarters, only to come fiercely alive with five minutes left of a 20-point loss? Is he the airborne, rim-attacker that all of his compelling athletic gifts suggest he should be? Or is he the languid jump-shooter, who wanders the perimeter and happily obliges whenever teams beg him to shoot from outside?

Here’s what I do know. I know that after he joined the Wolves late last season, he was second on the team in usage rate, using a rather astonishing 27.1% of the Wolves’ possessions when he was on the floor. That’s some serious volume. (To put this in further perspective, that number would have put him at 10th in the league had he played the entire season). Now a lot of that is due both to the Wolves’ rash of injuries towards the end of the year and to Randolph’s extreme garbage time voyages. But still: his true shooting rate was a below-average 53.7%; his turnover rate was a very high 14.6%; he showed an alarming affinity for grabbing a rebound, wildly, triumphantly dribbling the length of the floor and booting the ball out of bounds. Something is deeply out of balance here. And his defensive shortcomings at center, where he’s likely to spend the majority of his minutes this year, just about cancel out the advantage his quickness gives him at the offensive end.

It’s hard to tell what will become of this strange dude. But here’s my best guess: with his blank, far-away demeanor, Anthony Randolph falls into that vast category of NBA player with overwhelming talent but a temperament that prevents that talent from ever fully flowering. This is a pretty magical group. They’ve blessed us with some of our most meaningful crossovers; they’ve given Summer League performances of real transcendence; they’ve blown out birthday candles resting on the rim. There’s really no shame in calling yourself a member.

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6 thoughts on “The curious case of Anthony Randolph

  1. Hopefully Adelman will be able to light a fire under him so we can see the Rudy Gay/Lamar Odum-type player he was supposed to be.

  2. I heard that Randolph had put on a considerable amount of muscle in the offseason- 20-25 pounds or so- so that he would be better able to hold his own on the defensive end playing center. I don’t know if that makes a difference at all, but the guy certainly has some potential and if he could turn into a decent option at center, that would do wonders for this Timberwolves team.

  3. I really like Randolph’s length at any position. He showed he can disrupt the shot of any NBA player during his playin time last yr. I like him as a contributor at the 4 or a starter, yes starter at the 5…like if Darko gets hurt or somethin. Too many talented guys at the 3-4. Can’t wait for Rubio/Williams to show people how good they really are…

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