I’m not the only one in the world that has a Google News Alert set for Anthony Randolph right?
Since he showed off his talent during the brief time when he actually got to play in Golden State — seriously, check out his April game logs from his rookie season — I’ve been waiting for Randolph to turn into a superstar, Slowly, my expectations for him have declined, and now that he’s in Denver, I can’t help but think this is finally an ideal situation for him.
After what’s already felt like a lengthy journeyman career, Randolph is still just 23 years old.
But what’s happened up to this point to make him such an afterthought?
As a 19 year-old rookie in Golden State, he quickly found himself out of favor with head coach Don Nelson, who publicly said that Randolph needed to grow up and that he would play when his assistants and captains deemed him ready.
As for what Nelson really meant by those comments, some reported at the time that Randolph had a poor attitude and bad practice habits, while others blamed him for actually going too hard in practice.
According to reports, one time in practice, the Warriors were scrimmaging 3-on-3 in practice when Randolph went up too hard and caught teammate Rob Kurz in the face, splitting open his chin and prompting Stephen Jackson to scold the rookie for his excessive force.
It seems to be a running theme with Randolph, all the tools in the world but unable to put it all together. The most important thing for a rookie at such a young age is some sort of support system, not necessarily the whole team or the entire coaching staff, but just one guy even.
The Warriors organization was in flux when he arrived, and it seemed that he really had nobody of influence who took him under his wing, to help him turn the corner. Nobody who cared to see the talent in him and take hold of his long term potential
Before the start of the 2011 season, the Warriors gave up on their first rounder and traded him to New York, signing David Lee in return. With the Knicks, the same story continued on. Randolph frustrated coaches with his play, mental errors and the propensity to take shots outside of his range.
Teammates compared him to Lamar Odom, and all praised his willingness to learn, but he was traded mid-season to Minnesota in a series of moves that reconfigured the Knicks as Carmelo Anthony’s team.
With the Wolves, he again saw limited opportunity and through his first four seasons, has never really gotten an extended look, or settled down into any role that afforded him the stability to develop himself as a player.
In Denver, he now finds himself on a team, and a coach that embraces versatility in its players and their line-up combinations. As a back-up, and the Nuggets having a handful of front court players ahead of him on the depth chart, it remains to be seen whether this will be the same story again for Randolph. It certainly would surprise no one at this point.
I still think there’s time for him to put it all together, it’s so strange that at his age is already at a crossroads in his career. But this is Anthony Randolph’s story, and it’s never really gone according to any script yet. Maybe it never will.