Is Anthony Randolph a fit on the team?
By Rob Wolkenbrod
The San Antonio Spurs can use a player with size at power forward or center. What about Anthony Randolph?
The San Antonio Spurs only signed Joffrey Lauvergne to fill a backup spot at center and power forward. It’s while David Lee and Dewayne Dedmon weren’t retained. Sure, Rudy Gay and Davis Bertans can play stretch four roles, but to rely on them as the other backups to Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge, it’s a risk.
Andrew Bogut was linked to the Spurs. Whether anything transpires remains to be seen, which goes for him and any other free-agent big man.
There is one interesting candidate, though. He’s not in the rumor mill, but wants to return to the NBA: Anthony Randolph.
In speaking with ESPN.com, Randolph describes his basketball journey in Europe, where he’s been since 2014:
“To keep it real, I got knocked down from my pedestal,” Randolph said during the Eurobasket group stage in Finland. “I had to go back to the basics. It was a different experience. It helped me realize why I really started playing basketball again.
After this run, Anthony Randolph will probably get another NBA shot, while Doncic confirmed and elevated the incredible hype.
— Jared Weiss (@JaredWeissNBA) September 17, 2017
It was noted that the 28-year-old developed into a 3-point shooter, too. This comment followed:
Now I fit in perfect, right?” Randolph said with a smile.
How perfect of a fit is he? Lokomotiv Kuban coach Igor Kokoskov feels the versatility is there for the 2008 lottery pick:
“His versatility makes him such a unique player in international basketball. He definitely belongs in the NBA. He’s in a good place right now with Real Madrid. Great team, exposure and experience this summer. I really believe that he’s going to get another shot.
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Randolph was highly regarded in 2008, when he entered the NBA Draft. The Golden State Warriors selected him No. 14 overall, pre-Stephen Curry era, and had him around for the next two years. The LSU product never materialized into a productive NBA player, due to mental lapses on the court and getting lost in the shuffle of the big men that can shoot (Randolph made 20 career 3-pointers in six NBA seasons).
The last time Randolph stepped onto an NBA court was in 2013-14. He played in 43 games for the Denver Nuggets, but shot just 38.6 percent from the field.
After the season, Randolph went to Europe in hope of maturing his game. If the comments from Kokosov are any indication, he’s done so, or at least is on the way. 3-point shooting and the ability to defend multiple positions in these “positionless” lineups are becoming a staple of the NBA, with the Golden State Warriors at the forefront.
The Spurs have players like Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green that can handle multiple positions, but no one taller than 6-foot-10 that can do this. Randolph’s athleticism allows him to cover small forwards, with the ability at 6-foot-10 to guard the stretch fours of basketball and go under the rim with centers.
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Players from Europe, some of which were NBA castoffs, received a second chance this offseason. Ekpe Udoh and Khem Birch didn’t have great first go-arounds in the league, but accepted multi-year deals to return to the United States. Both are athletic big men that fit in the NBA’s current landscape. If they can come back, what about Randolph?