By Panos Katsiroumpas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Real Madrid have quite possibly made the signing of the summer so far, along with that of Ioannis Bourousis to Panathinaikos. Anthony Randolph was, together with Delaney, the main reasons that led Lokomotiv Kuban to the Final 4 in Berlin.
With his acquisition and the concurrent signing of Othello Hunter, Real seem like they’re changing their way of thinking with regard to big men. But Randolph’s addition especially, clearly makes them more mobile and at the same time shows that this year their progress will not depend only on their guards. We’ll see what Randolph can add to the Queen’s game a bit further down, but for now let’s get to know the American forward-center a bit better.
Randolph played college basketball at the University of Louisiana. He stayed in Baton Rouge just for one year because he worked wonders as a freshman and so declared himself eligible for the draft. He finished the year with almost 16 points and 9 rebounds at a university with a tradition in big men as Shaquille as well as Glen Davis also had a great college career there.
He was selected with the number 14 by the Warriors with who he got playing time and found a role on their roster from the start. He stayed there for two years having pretty good numbers, but the San Francisco team sent him to New York trading him for David Lee. He hardly got any playing time there so he headed to Minneapolis where he spent a year and a half with the Timberwolves. He didn’t manage to settle there either so the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and the Nuggets were next. He spent two years as a sub there and since he couldn’t find any other NBA team willing to trust him, he crossed the Atlantic and went to Lokomotiv Kuban, where he fascinated with his performances in the last couple of years.
What he can offer
Randolph is a player who is tailor-made for European basketball. He’s 2.13 m. and can put the call on the floor with great ease, while at the same time he has a very good shooting ability, which makes him very dangerous from any point on the court in the offensive part. He can play in the 4 position too, but in the 5 position he can create clear mismatches with his speed but also his shooting ability.
He’s excellent in the pick-and-pop game, in which he ran wild against Barcelona in the playoffs, with high accuracy percentages from mid- and long-range. If his opponent clings to him then he can strike with the great speed that he possesses for his height and attack the basket with the ball on the floor. Overall, he has the ability to create problems for any big man he might face.
In general, his presence is expected to change Real’s status, which, with him and Hunter, wants to strengthen its defensive part as well, especially the aspects of the defensive pick-and-roll but also the protection of the rim. He can cover areas in defense quickly, has long arms, and can even play switching defenses in many cases. He’s a good rim protector, especially if he has a good position inside the paint and, more generally, he’s a player who can offer things in defense too.
The only downside is that, despite his height, he’s not very strong and has a few issues when he has to defend inside the post, especially against strong opponents.
In offense he likes to receive the ball facing the basket, since he can create a direct threat, while he doesn’t usually approach with his back to the post. For this kind of game Real have Ayon and Reyes in any case.
When he screens in offense he prefers not to roll to the basket, but whenever it was needed he showed he can contribute even in this type of game, as he cuts inside the paint quickly and doesn’t allow the defense any time to react.
Overall, with his presence he’s going to give some new touches to Real’s puzzle, with a way of playing that we hadn’t seen from Pablo Laso’s team until now. He’s going to add elements that, from the players the Queen had in the 4 and 5 positions, only Nocioni could provide with consistency and frequency. In other words, he’s going to provide greater variety in the offensive game, while he can also fill some gaps in defense as well. Let’s not forget that Real’s defense in switches and the pick-and-roll was their Achilles’ heal last season as well as the main reason for their failure in the Euroleague.