Tuesday, March 31, 2009

BILL SIMMONS ON ANTHONY RANDOLPH


Here's an excerpt from a recent Bill Simmon's Q and A:

Q: YES! YES, YES, YES!!! Please write about Anthony Randolph! I've been telling people about him all year long. There's never been an NBA player with his size and skill set. Ever. He's a looong 6-foot-10, runs like a gazelle, has great hops, and can handle the ball. Love it. As an added bonus, he looks like he's constantly crying or really getting his feelings hurt. He's fascinating. I get genuinely giddy any time the Warriors are on, for him alone. Can you please let America know about Anthony Randolph?
-- Aaron, Chicago

SG: He's one of the most breathtaking rookies I've seen in person -- ever -- for all the reasons you just described. There has never been anyone quite like him. He's like a cross between Josh Smith and Lamar Odom, only if you fed him 10 Red Bulls and told him right before the game, "If you can make 10 things happen during the 10 minutes you play tonight, we will quadruple your salary and you will start for the rest of the season" ... and then he does just that, but the coach reneges on the promise so Anthony has a near-crying meltdown on the bench. That's every Anthony Randolph game. I caught him once and, in the span of two hours, he made three "MY GOD!" plays and broke down on the Warriors' bench because Nellie wouldn't put him back in, followed by an assistant consoling him through an entire timeout like Randolph was a third grader who got in trouble for something he didn't do, then had a meltdown and got kicked out of class. It was riveting. The odds of me missing another Clips-Warriors game for the next five years are 10,000-to-1.

One other thing: There hasn't been nearly enough made of how screwed up the Warriors are right now. Their front office and ownership situation is a world-class mess. Their coach has been in "I'm Keith Hernandez" Mode since the 2007 Dallas upset and looks like he's actively trying to get fired. They have two young players everyone loves -- Randolph and Monta Ellis -- only they've been antagonized to the degree that it might affect them long-term. In Randolph's case, how can a lottery team not play a talent like Randolph 35 minutes a game? What the hell is going on here??? For some reason, the only media member who seems to care is Tim Kawakami. I don't get it. If I were a Warriors fan, I would be organizing protests outside the arena complaining about Randolph's playing time. It's insane. Imagine if Chicago was 16-50 and played Derrick Rose 10 minutes a game. Would you think that was weird? You would, right? Welcome to Anthony Randolph's world. This is the single weirdest subplot of the 2008-09 season, narrowly edging Zaza Pachulia's bacne.


Some may argue that Anthony Randolph deserved to be put on ice much of the season. I thought he deserved it after his elbow happened to catch Rob Kurz in the chin during an aggressive rebound in a heated practice. But the length of the freeze out and the extreme lack of playing time despite the obvious need for his energy before that was unwarranted. Injuries opened up plenty of opportunity for Randolph to be inserted into the game, but often times, it never happened.

It seems like everyone is giddy over how Nelson 'handled' Randolph by not playing him much early in the year - as if his promising play was a direct result of the DNP-CD's and 10 minute stints. Wake up! We would have seen the same type of exciting, heady, refined play sooner if he were given the same reasonable opportunity to play as any other 'sane' coach affords a rookie that shows promise, rebounds, and shows great effort on defense. Randolph has the pride, skill, and work ethic to overcome his shortcomings in the process of natural development and although Nellie and his coaching staff deserve credit for his improvement, many are selling Randolph short.

Anthony Randolph has had the talent all along, he felt alienated, and the fans were robbed of enjoying 75% of his rookie season. Randolph would have easily made the All-Star Rookie team had he been given a reasonable amount of playing time to develop as a player. Sadly, the Golden State Warriors had no one to represent their team that weekend. Nellie should have played him every game and yanked him for making too many mistakes in a row - at least giving him a chance to learn from his mistakes on the court. Instead, the fans were treated to SG's and SF's at PF and Rob Kurz ahead of him on the depth chart. The vets were allowed to make the same mistakes that got Randolph immediately yanked (or banished to the bench for several games) but none of the vets EVER matched Randolph's hustle, much needed rebounding, and defensive intensity. That's a raw deal if you ask me.

It was pure politics and a classic case of a Nellie power-play. Don't get me wrong, I love Nellie as a coach and am excited by the brand of up-tempo basketball he employs on the Warriors, but his long history of mind-games, deception, and power trips are one aspect of his HOF coaching persona he needs to drop. Nellie is too respected for that and too good a coach to resort to those tricks that many knowledgeable fans and players can see right through.

Anthony Randolph was not used properly during his rookie season and his game could have been much more advanced had egos been checked and the kid been allowed to do his thing. If this had been the case from Day 1, Randolph's name would be among those being talked about for Rookie of the Year. Way to go Nellie.

2008-2009 Game Log


Anthony Randolph - Golden State Warriors Mix
by NBAChrisPaul

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