12.24.2008

Paints for Mirrors



Quote of the holiday day: "You bring me the yeti and I'll release your parents." Meatloaf said it, no less.

I knew there was a reason I was so thoroughly invested in Anthony Randolph. Besides being my last best hope for feeling like I'm touching the league's pulse, Randolph's also bringing it back to 2001 for the MSM. Check out these quotes from Bucher (bold all mine):

Sources also say rookie phenom Anthony Randolph, who some believe has the talent to one day be among the league's top 10 players, has been told he's not fitting in and could be dealt.

I guess FD is still more influential than I ever imagined. Are people really saying this? And if indeed it is front office folks, isn't the planet spinning backward if they're on my wavelength? Not that potential will ever completely disappear as a factor in assessing talent, but aren't things supposed to be getting more rational, economical, and here-and-now when it comes to team-building?

If you think I'm overreacting, how about this:

Yes, Randolph is 19 and plays with crazy rambunctiousness that results in silly fouls and ugly turnovers. But he also routinely makes plays -- blocked shots, crushing putback dunks and acrobatic drives -- that are beyond any other Warrior's capability. People within the organization talk about him the way they did Webber, as a singular talent capable of someday making the team a title contender. According to a half-dozen scouts and GMs, he has the potential to nudge out Derrick Rose as the best player in his draft class.



This is one of those "how serious is FD" moments. I would never say any of this with a straight face, because for now, Randolph's mystique is light years away from anything this concrete. I might be treading on the old "potentially potential" territory, but at this point, I think the real drama is seeing what kind of prospect Randolph develops into, not projecting what he might do as a refined NBA player. I'm especially attached to the kind of athlete who forces this kind of thinking. The charm, and the irony, of it is that you've got the fantastic doubling as the height of scouting acumen, the whimsical and the shrewd forced to pull in the same direction. But there's a big difference between venturing there selectively (less so if you're a half-serious blog) and applying it as a matter of course, as front offices once did; it's also bizarre to see it show up at all now, seeing how the climate has changed, the age limit has sobered everyone up, and there are so many embarrassing quotes on the record about past duds. I guess Anthony Randolph really is that fucking powerful.

Also, I was looking at my fantasy team and happened to click here. I have to say, if there's any single reason for me to be alienated from the NFL, it's the way running backs—my favorite position—currently rise and fall, or are platooned. Maybe my "I miss 2003" is nostalgia for the height of my interest in the NFL, but it also marks the exact point at which platoons and "RB's are finished at 30" started their ascent. It keeps real star power from gaining traction—T-Mac, injury-ravaged as he is, is still a viable star at 30 due to his playmaking ability; Kobe at near 31 is 1A or 1B in the league—but it cheapens the position itself, and what the individual's contribution to it means. Feel free to insert your favorite FD buzzword (style, personality, etc.) anywhere in the preceding graph.

Merry Christmas, and may you live like a slipping pitch.

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19 Comments:

At 12/24/2008 7:56 PM, Blogger Matt Lundy said...

Bucher's comments register as a little surprising considering Randolph's little burn and output thus far. Does Randolph have the type of talent to become a top-ten player? Yeah, I guess. But so does/did Tyrus Thomas, Stromile Swift, and any number of lengthy unconditional skinny bigs with a penchant for blocked shots and erratic play.

Does Randolph succeed where those guys have failed and actually reach that "ceiling" draft junkies fawn over? Maybe, but players in that style of mold rarely do.

 
At 12/24/2008 8:02 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

There's a lot more to Randolph than that.

 
At 12/24/2008 11:26 PM, Blogger sportjunky said...

whats interesting about AR is that nellie is simultaneously stunting his growth by not giving him consistent heavy minutes and also nurturing the hybrid odom-josh smith potential he has by giving him various responsibilities on the court.

this is a good read on AR by Matt Steinmetz (pre and post game guy for the Warriors)

http://www.examiner.com/x-441-Golden-State-Warriors-Examiner~y2008m12d22-Randolph-is-raw-no-doubt-but-Nelson-has-coached-him-like-finished-product

key part:

"Warriors coach Don Nelson has put it pretty plainly in the past couple of weeks: Randolph is not NBA ready, is having difficulty picking up the pro game and might not be working hard enough, on top of it.

But if that’s the case, why not keep the game simple for him? Why not make it easier on the kid? How about playing Randolph at one position and one position only for right now?

It seems obvious that Randolph can at least rebound, block shots and run. So why not ask him to do those things and those things exclusively from the power forward position (where, at this point, he's at less of a disadvantage than at other spots)?

That’s it … learn the plays from the four position and try to go get the ball every time you can.

Instead, Nelson has played Randolph at small forward and power forward in both games and practices this season. He also has had Randolph playing point forward in practice situations.
"

 
At 12/25/2008 1:50 AM, Blogger Forrest said...

I'd love to hear folks' takes on the following, from paragraph 12 (subparagraph 4) of the rules for the xmas/nba (setting the over/under at 100 divorces resulting from tomorrow) streak for the cash game:

"Canadian and Mexican residents who are potential winners will be required to answer a mathematical skill test in order to be eligible to win any prize."

Is Hollinger really this powerful?

 
At 12/25/2008 1:38 PM, Blogger VictorVonRimp said...

two points:
on Anthony Randolph/ potential;
Maybe the fact that the league is swinging more to the finished product side means it becomes more efficient to go the potential route, since less people are playing that game.
On fantasy football:
I just won the superbowl in my league, so Im somewhat biased, but I think that the whole fact that there are plattoons for running backs makes things more intresting, in that you always have to keep an eye on who is getting the carries in a time share.
ANyway, best solution:
make your league 3 wrs, 2 rbs, and add a 1/2point per reception;
really balNCES THINGS OUT.

 
At 12/25/2008 1:47 PM, Blogger VictorVonRimp said...

accidental all caps at the end

 
At 12/25/2008 7:09 PM, OpenID tredecimal said...

4:07 PST, Celtics up by 2, Rondo goes baseline and almost dunks on Odom AND Kobe. Is there beauty in a play that doesn't result in two points? My god yes.

 
At 12/25/2008 8:12 PM, Blogger Freddie said...

Was really shocked by how bad Bynum looked.... He really disappoints. I'd take Perkins over Bynum any day of the week-- better D, better rebounding, much higher basketball IQ.

 
At 12/25/2008 11:28 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

@Forrest: All Canadians are required to answer math questions when they win a "contest" of some type (think bottle cap stuff). It's related to getting around some weird regulations Canada has regarding gambling and "games of chances". I'm sure there is a Wikipedia article on this... in fact, here it is:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skill_testing_question

 
At 12/26/2008 1:43 AM, Blogger jawaan oldham said...

This skill testing question business would be more impressive if it tested more different kinds of skills. Like if you couldn't win the lottery without dunking a basketball.

 
At 12/26/2008 2:50 AM, Blogger Ben Conway said...

Shoals, I hope you've come out of Seattle's Big Freeze unharmed. Just one more night baby!
The problem with fantasy football is that it brings pain, pain, nothing but pain. I researched for weeks, dominated all three of my leagues and lost in all three title games. Even had I won, I would've felt little more than relief.
Watching the Suns I got to wondering, how badly has Pat Burke's absence been affecting them, and just how FD is Pat Burke?

 
At 12/26/2008 10:48 AM, Blogger G Wolf said...

Shoals - I'm guessing you saw this already?

 
At 12/26/2008 3:53 PM, Blogger Chris Cohan said...

Randolph is a good rebounder, that much is already evident, and the heart is undeniable. He's very skilled. Very quick trigger finger and that confidence is a blessing and a very ominous curse, all at once. The current team model and coach seem, frankly, like a worst case scenario for his legitimate development and a perfect storm for use as a trade chip. Nelson needs to be stopped, and fast. Moncrief seems to have the best handle on Randolph AND Ellis, Biedrins being far more self-regulating, and that is an interesting element in the current tumult.

We shall see...

 
At 12/29/2008 9:04 PM, Blogger latke gravitas said...

The Warriors-Lakers game last night summed up the Anthony Randolph NBA experience so far: boneheaded rookie mistakes when given critical minutes; cocky, exciting plays during garbagetime. He needs to flip the formula. That's on him, not Nellie.

 
At 12/30/2008 5:39 PM, Blogger Chris Cohan said...

Randolph is raw as hell. But the odds are stacked against him and Wright as long as they pay for Nelson no matter what their potential.

 
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