How Anthony Randolph Fits With the Denver Nuggets

Who is Anthony Randolph?

Randolph is a player who just completed his fourth season in the NBA.  In those four seasons he has played for three different teams and all three teams have been content to let him go.  Do me a favor and do not judge him based on that introduction.

Randolph first hit the radar of NBA scouts and draftniks as a freshman at LSU.  He was not a highly regarded prospect, but quickly rose up the rankings after declaring for the 2008 NBA Draft.  Randolph enticed teams with his length, solid athleticism and ability to play in the paint and on the perimeter.

To some he appeared to be one of the torchbearers of the next generation of forwards able to score from anywhere, handle the ball and set up his teammates with his solid passing.  To others he was a certain bust, a player who was able to wow in workouts, but not capable of putting everything together on the court.

Golden State claimed Randolph with the 14th selection in the 2008 draft, four spots ahead of one JaVale McGee.

Once in the NBA Randolph proved to be very raw, but it was also evident that he belonged.  Despite his deficiencies he provided tremendous support on the glass and was an impressive shot blocker.  Offensively he was overconfident in his abilities and the result was a hail storm of poor shots.  Plus his effective rebounding and ability to defend the rim did not mask his inexperience and indifference on the defensive end.

Playing time became difficult to come by as Randolph slowly lost the confidence of Don Nelson and Randolph was shipped off to New York in the David Lee sign and trade deal.  Things grew even more dismal with the Knicks as Randolph was buried on the bench by Mike D’Antoni and he found himself caught up in the Carmelo Anthony trade as he was sent to Minnesota along with Eddy Curry that also saw future Nugget Corey Brewer sent to the Knicks.

Randolph saw his fortunes change with the Timberwolves finishing out the 2010-11 season on a high note recording two 20-10 games over the final five games of the season.  Randolph was not able to parlay his hot finish into regular playing time during the lockout shortened season.

Strangely his advanced metrics have declined every year he has been in the league.  I do not believe that is indicative of a lack of potential, simply a lack of consistent minutes and opportunity.

It is obvious Randolph is not going to be the transformative talent that some expected him to be when he was drafted; however, he is still a player with untapped potential.  His situation is very similar to new teammate JaVale McGee.  He is a player who has reached the point in his career where he must prove he is willing to work hard and earn minutes.  Both players have been hampered by their own lack of effort and focus.

What does Randolph bring to the table?  He fits very well into the Nuggets up tempo style.  Randolph is very good at running the floor and he is capable of collecting a rebound and starting the break on his own.  As you would expect, he is adept at dunking, which comes in handy as a fun way to finish fast breaks.

Apart from that he is still a work in progress on offense.  He is left handed although is able to drive with either hand.  He utilizes the jab step and likes to rip the ball across his body to get his defender off balance.  His long first step almost always ensures he can get past his defender.   Unfortunately, once he attacks the basket he struggles to change direction and when help comes he tends to simply plow into the defense.  As you can imagine, results are typically mixed.  Sometimes he gets to the line, sometimes he still manages to score, but all too frequently he turns the ball over.   His ability to get into the lane will fit in well with Denver, he simply needs to get better at preparing to dump the ball off when his path is closed down.

The most galling issue for Randolph is his love of his jumper.  Over his career he has attempted roughly as many shots outside the paint as he has at the rim.  For a player of his skills, that is unacceptable.  Randolph will always struggle with his jumper because he leads with his left side and does not square his shoulders or hips when he shoots.  Because of that he struggles to control his distance because there is too much arm in his shot.  He looks coordinated and smooth when he shoots and he has posted solid numbers from the free throw line for a big man.  There is hope he can get it dialed in one day and become a threat from the perimeter especially if he can remove the cooked from his stroke.  The good news is Randolph did slightly reduce his ratio of jumpers to shots in the lane last season.  I am confident that the Nuggets will help him continue that trend as they did with McGee in their short time with him last season.

As a passer Randolph is capable.  While he struggles to pass on the move, he makes good passes from the perimeter and displayed the ability to enter the ball into the post from the circle.  George Karl may take advantage of that as he did with Kenyon Martin.

He has displayed a willingness to set solid screens although his propensity to slip ball screens will sadly make him fit right in with the Nuggets, but that is a coaching issue, not a player issue.

Defensively, Randolph’s greatest issue is focus and determination.  He was not put forth great effort in the past and that must change.  As a post defender he leaves much to be desired due to his lack of girth.  His seems to be caught off guard when the offensive player makes his move and as soon as he prepares to shoot, Randolph will just body up to him and put his arms in the air.  This is ineffective as it prevents him from being able to react if the player he is guarding keeps moving, or simply steps around him.

On the perimeter he moves his feet well and has the potential to be a good pick and roll defender.  His biggest issue is he lays off too much conceding the jumper.  His length allows him to get away with it sometimes, but frequently he is so far away that he cannot get close enough to truly challenge the jumper.

As a shot blocker, he does a good job of not leaving the ground prematurely and can resist pump fakes.

What do the Nuggets really have in Randolph?  First of all, he is a very talented player with an incredibly reasonable contract.  I expect the coaching staff to bring out the best in Randolph and his three year, $6 million deal will be viewed as one of the best in the league.

Randolph will undoubtedly provide moments that will make you want to pull your hair out.  The fact is, he will not simply be handed playing time.  Denver needed a long athletic power forward to compliment the undersized Kenneth Faried and less athletic Al Harrington.  Randolph is a perfect complimentary player to both of them.  He will also be backing both of them up.  Do not look for Randolph to play big minutes early on.   On the other hand, if Harrington struggles to bounce back from his recent knee issues, or if injuries strike the gaggle of centers on the roster again, Randolph is capable of stepping in and contributing.

One thing to keep in mind is the addition of Randolph is more for years two and three of his contract than it is for this season.  Denver knows he is a bit of a project and will need to unlearn bad habits and be taught the proper way to play.

I am not guaranteeing players like Randolph and McGee, should he re-sign with Denver, will reach their potential.  I am saying they can be a very formidable pairing capable of shutting down the lane on defense and providing a constant threat at the rim on offense.  Look for the Nuggets to work to have Randolph focus on doing what he does best instead of trying to do too much as he has in the past. That is one way to ensure he provides a positive impact on the game.  They were successful in getting McGee to do just that last season and he showed progress in just a few short weeks thanks to that guidance.

Should the Nuggets reach Randolph, the decision to amnesty Chris Andersen to sign him to a incredibly reasonable contract could certainly help push the Nuggets to the next level in the Western Conference.  And because Birdman was not expected to be a contributor in the future and Randolph’s contract is so reasonable, the risk is completely minimized.

  • GK4Prez

    He also has the DNPCD perfected. Jokes aside, I like the signing when AR4/Odom lite has been given minutes he has put up numbers with all of the teams that he has played for.

  • Evan Woodruff

    I’m so confused. Everyone keeps refering to Al Harrington as a POWER FORWARD. when he is not. He is a Small forward. Only reason he played power is because we had NO OTHER BACK UP. Harrington won’t be taking his minits. He will side back to the 3, and this Anthony will come in behind Kenneth for about 15-20min a game. Kenny will get 25-30.

    • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com Jeremy

      Harrington is 100% power forward at this point in his career. What part of his game suggests otherwise?

      • Woobly o Balls

        Um maybe in 1998. But still no. Maybe you are getting confused with Antwan Jamieson?

        No way in hell is Harrington a SF. Look at how he is built- he has a solid frame and is built low to the ground.

        In fact he is more suited to playing minutes at centre than at SF.

        That fact that you think he would slide “back” to SF now is a joke (not thats its even relevant but remember we have a logjam at SF??).

        This is a TOP 10 MOST IGNORANT COMMENT I’VE EVER READ ON THIS BLOG.

        • Woobly o Balls

          Sorry this comment was meant to be directed to Evan Woodruff. Btw you should start your own blog. I’d love to read more of your stuff

          • KW

            Dude, this is his blog!

            • Evan Woodruff

              Ok I’m wrong. It happens to all of us, no need for the hostility.

              I just remember before Kenneth saw time Al was coming in for Gallo.

        • Jeff

          This Nuggets team doesn’t really have positions if you think about it. You basically have wings and post players.

    • Charlie

      Sorry but I one thousand percent disagree. Harrington does not move his feet very well on defense and his lateral quickness is deteriorating to a point where he should not be playing so many minutes while being expected to guard multiple postions and contribute in so many different areas at once.

      Harrington knows his role very well. He gets buckets. He can carry the team with his scoring and stretch the floor to open up things for his teammates. When he played with Nene he tried to unclog the paint as much as possible to open up his cuts to the rim. When he played with Faried he decided to check the bigger players so Faried’s size would not be exposed too badly on the defensive end. He is 6’9 and 250 and much stronger than people think. He can guard jump shooting bigs very effectively and does an okay job battling post players on the low block.

      He’s not a three, never was and never will be. I can tell you the coaches certainly think that

    • The Other Kalen

      Which Al Harrington are you watching?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

    • Romney

      What about Chandler or Gallo?

  • GK4Prez

    I agree with Jeremy and Charlie on this one. The Nuggets have 5 possibly 6 or 7 guys depending on how the final roster looks that are better suited to play the 3 spot over Harrington.

  • Woobly o Balls

    Btw, I’m surprised Josh Carter isn’t on an NBA roster. Good size, sweet stroke.

    Players are on teams with much less to offer. At least he has one elite skill

  • http://foodinline.com/readfaq.aspx?faqid=1197841 餐馆网站

    You actually make it appear really easy along with your presentation but I to find this matter to be really something which I think I’d by no means understand. It sort of feels too complex and extremely huge for me. I am taking a look forward on your subsequent submit, I will attempt to get the dangle of it!

    • Woobly o Balls

      And just let Quincy miller walk for nothing?!?
      Y’all crazy

      • Bryan

        If a trade isn’t made, Stone will be waived (his contract isn’t guaranteed and he’ll be recovering from hip surgery for a while, apparently).

  • lyrasmith

    It”s so interesting,the Gm amnesty Chris Andersen and sigh Randolph,I”m wondering if there will be a trade these days,let”s wait and see what will happen.

  • steve

    great read. i agree 100%. AR has a ton of potential but nobody has really given him a chance and when he has seen PT, he’s tried to do way to much. On this squad, with a 3 year deal, he’ll know his role. He wont be asked to do too much. The coaching staff will have time to work with him and improve his all around game. This kid could be real good down the road. He’s still real young. Him and Mcgee would pair the lengthiest front court in the league. He’s actually very similar to Ibaka in alot of ways, just hasn’t shown the work ethic or passion quite yet.

    Another great add by our GM on a great contract. GO NUGS!

  • http://roundballminingcompany.com Mark from Charlotte

    Good point steve

  • dynamo.joe

    Looks like Minny might have already beat any desire to try 3′s out of him.

    If he stops turning the ball over the Nuggets might really have something there.

    Well, he also needs to stop with all the PF’s, but if he did that he wouldn’t be recognizable as a Nuggets big.

  • Cory

    I saw on ESPN.com I think on a live chat with I think John Hollinger sayign look for the Nuggets to make a trade. Maybe he knows something we don’t.

  • Big O

    I like and HATE this move. The Bird had to go!! No lie there a 4 mil for a guy keeping the bench warm?? BYE!!!!! The reason why the Nuggets sign Anthony Randolph is because has always played good against The nuggets. Potential you say???? Yeah Randolph is in his early 20′s but I rather take a 19yr Quincy Miller over this guy!!! Quincy Miller before getting hurt in high school was the second best player in the nation!!!!! Just behind a guy by the name Anthony Davis!!!!!!!

    • Drew

      I like Quincy Miller, but this isn’t high school. If we go by high school rankings let’s go ahead and trade our best players for Josh Selby and Byron Mullens. Quincy Miller is now playing against the elite. He was nowhere near the second best player (or even top 10) at the college level and hasn’t been overwhelming in the summer league. How do you expect him to match up against guys that actually start in the NBA? Quincy has a long ways to go and Randolph is more ready to play. Birdman had to go and this move makes Denver even more athletic, longer and younger. I’m sure mgmt will go ahead and waive Stone to make room for Quincy but with the log jam at small forward, why not pick up a long, young 6’11 power forward for a bargain? Unless you’re a diehard Baylor fan or head of the Quincy Miller fanclub.

      • Kalen

        Selby and Mullens are killing it in Summer League. Just throwing it out there.

        • Drew

          Sooooo Ty for Selby and Gallo for Mullens? Dynasty?? Haha

      • Head of the Quincy Miller Fan Club

        I admit he isn’t ready this season and we don’t need him to be, but he still has a lot of potential and the Q Mill still deserves a roster spot.

        And don’t compare him to Selby and Mullens (who are still nice players) – Miller had an extremely bad injury – apples to oranges

      • Die Hard Baylor Fan

        I agree Quincy still hasnt stepped up in the summer league, but you can tell by the flashes in him that he has unlimited potential. He is still extremely young, and hopefully he will get himself a spot on the bench to work with this Nuggets coaching staff for a year, get bigger and better and then have a chance to play next year. Even if he was killing it in Summer League GK wouldnt play him much anyways so we have to be thinking at least another year before we see anything out of him.

        My prediction if it matters about the three coming out of Baylor. Look for Quincy Acy to have manimal like qualities, not quite as good but has the best chance to play right away. Perry jones wont see as much time either right away and will become a very good non starter over time. Quincy Miller however does show the best ability to improve and has a really good stroke, it will be just seeing him grow and learn how to play in the NBA

  • DH

    Many people have commented on what this means for Quincy Miller and/or Julyan Stone). Personally, I think we have to keep Miller. Although he’s raw, he has too much upside to just let him go. I really like Stone, too. And even if it’s not Stone, we need a third PG in case Ty or Andre gets injured.

    As I see it, we can now keep both Miller and Stone if we move either Moz or Kouf for a draft pick. Randolph is a PF, but he can certainly serve as a third C, too. Before acquiring Randolph, we needed to hang on to both Moz and Kouf. Now one of them is expendable (assuming, of course, that JaVale signs).

    Masai might shake things up again, though, and none of this will matter. There’s no telling what he plans to do next.

    • Dubz

      I agree in the notion that someone needs to be traded and it should be either Mozgov or Koufos. What I haven’t heard anyone mention is that this is to a certain extent a back up plan for McGee in case he doesn’t re sign. I know they play different positions but Randolph COULD play C and has similar attributes to McGee (very long, freakishly athletic, very raw, tons of potential, etc.) If Randolph pans out, he could fill a lot of holes for the Nuggets as they’re currently constructed.

      • Daniel

        We have a “third” point guard – Evan Fournier. He’s been getting practice bringing up the ball in summer league, and Karl already has used a 2-guard as a 3rd string PG before: see JR Smith, Rudy Fernandez

        • DH

          Just my opinion, but Fournier isn’t nearly ready to be a point guard in an NBA game. I’m not sure he’s ready to be a 2-guard in an NBA game, yet. In a couple of years, it might be a different story (the PG part), though.

          • smar

            but if miller and ty et hurt theres no point then not playing evan because the season is lost already

      • DH

        Dubz, yeah I mentioned it in another post. Personally, I hope we sign McGee. But at the very least, McGee has to see this as a possible backup plan for the Nuggets, so I don’t think he’ll keep pushing for more money. He has to realize that – if we had to – we could go on without him now. I think it might lead to him signing soon, rather than risking that we withdraw the offer.

  • Dubz

    I really really like this move for the Nuggets. Nicely done Masai. There is basically no risk for the Nuggets at 2 million per season and I have full faith in GK (one of the only areas I can say this with him) in developing Randolph. I know people are assuming we’ll just waive Stone for Miller, but who will be our 3rd PG? 3rd PG’s aren’t often used in the NBA, but it’s a necessity to have a competent one. Anyway, I agree that a trade should probably be made to clear up a roster spot or two. Really like this move.

  • http://tskitishvillainy.tumblr.com/ tskitishvillain

    At this point Anthony Randolph is low risk high reward. He’s only 22 and has shown some brilliant flashes. However, he also makes some absolutely boneheaded plays. I assume Coach Karl is a man of almost infinite patience, after all for years he’s coached guys like Melo, K-Mart, JR, AI etc.. but this guy is on a McGee type level. I just don’t really understand how he will not buried at the end of the bench again.

  • Andrew

    I like the move, too, but agree that AR will be more of a backup with limited minutes. I am still more nervous about the Nuggs’ lack of shooters. Is J Ham ready to fill our shooting needs? I would be fine with going with just two PGs if the Nuggets want to waive him and go get a legit shooting SG. Also, is the this the Nuggets’ roster now?

    Center: McGeezie (assuming he signs), K2, Moz
    PF: Manimal, Harrington, AR
    SF: Gallo, Chandler, Fournier, Q Miller
    SG: AAA, Brewer, J Ham
    PG: Ty Law, Dre, Stone(?)

    I would prefer to keep both Moz and K2 as insurance. This looks to me like the Nuggets are set up to trade Chandler for a pick or two…unless they get rid of either Q or Fournier.

    • DH

      I honestly think JHam is ready. The question is, will Karl let him see the court? I also think Gallo will start shooting like he’s capable of shooting, and that Afflalo will hit his usual high percentage. Ty is getting more consistent with his outside shot, too. So I don’t think we’ll be near the bottom of the league in 3-point shooting again, especially if JHam gets some playing time. We won’t lead the league, but we’ll be OK. And if guys like Miller, Brewer, and Harrington would take fewer 3′s, our percentage would increase from that alone.

    • asdqqq

      After watching them in summer league, I think the following are the most natural positions for these guys:

      Fournier is a natural 2. Maybe he can swing to the 1
      for spot duty in the future, and he could play the 3 against smaller SFs, but he’s pretty much a pure 2.

      Hamilton is a natural 3. He’s going to struggle some defensively guarding a lot of 2s, but could also play there.

      Q. Miller is a natural 4. His future is bulking up and playing the 4. I don’t think he can make it as a 3.

      I’d break up the roster like this:
      PG: Lawson, Miller, (Stone)
      SG: Afflalo, Fournier
      2/3: Brewer, Hamilton
      2/3/4: Chandler
      3/4: Gallinari
      PF: Faried, Harrington, Randolph, Q. Miller
      C: McGee, Mosgov/Koufos (depending on matchup)

  • Andrew

    I just watched a few clips of AR. The Nuggets will be completely unstoppable on the break, with this kid, Geezie, Gallo, Ty Law and AAA com in’ at ya. Yikes. I really hope the Nuggets’ coaches can work the same sort of magic on him as they did on Geez so that he can settle down, dig in, and play some half court D. If so, they are looking seriously dangerous.

    • ryanvdonk

      how could you forget manimal when talking about finishing on fast breaks?

      and Ty doesn’t need to be compared with overrated cornerbacks…

    • Peter

      The Nuggets will play some teams at home when the road team is on a back to back and with the likes of Lawson, Mcgee, Faried and Randolph we are going to run some really good teams off the floor! I can’t wait!!!

  • Colin

    what are the chances of a trade for Iggy and what do you think we would have to give up? I understand that the Sixers are trying to move him and i would love to get him. I’ve always thought he’d be a good fit here and an upgrade at the 2. Thoughts?

    • ryanvdonk

      chandler and AAA for iggy and a pick?

      would definitely thin out our log jam at the wings a little.

      • Colin

        seems like a great trade for both teams

    • dynamo.joe

      I like Igoudala, but how is he a 2?

      Plus what the 76ers need is a PG.

      Gallo/Miller can’t be traded.

      So I think the most likely scenario would be something like Lawson + Chandler + Harrington Igoudala + Holiday.

      Is that a trade you make? I dunno. Maybe you only make that trade if someone has already contacted you about a Gallo trade you like. Is holiday gonna make a jump?

  • Head of the Quincy Miller Fan Club

    I’d hate to see Stone waived but if I had to choose – I’d take Quincy Miller for that roster spot.

    Remember Andre Miller doesn’t miss games. So if Lawson gets injured we only need a guy to play PG for about 12 minutes a night – Maybe Fournier or Gallo could handle this?

    My preference is to trade KK for a draft pick though. I would choose Moz over him because Moz is the Bynum stopper

  • SmokinNugs

    Thoughts:

    Moz IS the Bynum stopper.

    J-Ham is making it rain on the 3 ball in summer league.

    Fournier definitely passes well enough to play 3rd string PG.

    Q Miller has been VERY disappointing so far.

    I picked up A-Rolph in fantasy for a couple of those 20-10 games and he was awesome, til he dropped off….

    I hope McGee stays with us, I can’t go back to only K2 and Mozzy.

  • SmokinNugs

    Also, I hope Stone can recover cause a 6’6″ PG is a GREAT compliment to little Fly Lawson

  • buchter froget

    this guy randolph is very athletic and seems to have great potential; he’d be nice coming off the bench and helping keep overall team healthy

    in every decision i see on the nuggets these days i ask myself… will this help us beat okc for the division title; does it get us past an la lakers or spurs in the playoffs?

    the nugs have got to get serious about WINNING IT ALL and one must believe this puts us a step closer to being in the discussion THIS YEAR

    no more settling for 5th, 6th seed; let’s go after 1 or 2 seed and get some HOME COURT ADVANTAGE

    go nugs!!!!

  • Duane

    There has to be some kind of trade coming to thin out all the players at the wing.

  • Poz_303

    We have three 1st round picks in the next two years. With such a young deep roster what are we going to do with all these picks?

    Rather than trading for picks I think the Nuggets could afford to trade away their 1st round picks for a potential all-star.

    Who? No idea, but they have so many young assets and 1st round draft picks (that we really cant use) to make a BIG trade happen.

    HOWEVER, they are also very happy with the current roster and I would imagine no bog trades this year, they will play the youngters, evaluate them and then decide who to keep, which position needs upgrading and then make their move next off-season.

    • Landry

      Rather I think we will make a big trade this year. We have a 7 million dollar trade exception, we have said 3 first round picks. We have trade assets that Houston could only dream of, and if we can get a superstar defensive specialist I would take it in a heart-beat. Plus we will have an 82 game season to evaluate talent if we ever feel ill content with any part of our talent pool. So Batman can continue to work his magic. I like the Eric Gordon situation with da New Orleans Hornets and we take a chance for the SMALLEST FRONTCOURT in the NBA@@!!! This is because we then have to brusiers in the lane constantly charging the lane.

  • Peter

    As much as I like Stone, if we cut him to keep Miller it’s not the end of the world. I think Phil Jackson proved that having a “true point guard” is the least important thing you need to have for a championship team.

  • smar

    not sure why the nuggets would trade for a pick as that would only temporarily clear up roster space as you have to use that pick eventually, unless they then packaged that pick in some other trade