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    Digging deeper for a comparison to Warriors rookie Anthony Randolph yields a very interesting list

    By Geoff Lepper
    48minutes.net

    Everyone keeps wanting to compare Warriors rookie forward Anthony Randolph to Lamar Odom or Josh Smith or some other current NBA player.

    For a true statistical comparison to Randolph’s rookie season, however, you have to delve farther back into the NBA’s history books.

    Since the league started tracking blocked shots as a stat in 1973, there have been only a handful of rookies who have played at least 890 minutes (the same amount Randolph clocked heading into Friday’s game with the New Orleans Hornets) and put up per-minute averages as high or better than Randolph’s in terms of scoring (21.3 points per 48 minutes), rebounding (15.5) and blocks (3.6).

    And let’s just say the list puts Randolph in pretty good company.

    In chronological order:

    ** Hakeem Olajuwon (HOU, 1984-85, 27.9 points, 16.0 rebounds, 3.6 blocks per 48 minutes)

    ** David Robinson (SAS, 1989-90, 31.9, 15.7, 5.1)

    ** Shaquille O’Neal (ORL, 1992-93, 29.6, 17.5, 4.5)

    That’s it.

    Two rookies matched the numbers in the old ABA: Artis Gilmore (KEN, 1971-72, 26.2, 19.5, 5.5) and Mike Green (DEN, 1973-74, 26.3, 17.0).

    Other NBA players came close to matching Randolph (most notably Bill Walton), and certainly there are old-school players who debuted before 1973 who undoubtedly would be on the list if blocks had been kept back then (Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, etc., etc.).

    But still: Three first-ballot Hall of Famers, plus Anthony Randolph, equals heady stuff for a franchise that historically has been better suited for a 6-foot-8-and-under league.

    Despite any statistical resemblances, neither Olajuwon, with his peerless back-to-the-basket game, nor Shaq, a singular talent if ever there was one, looks anything like Randolph on the court.

    With Robinson, though, you can see a few similarities – both lefties, with great instincts on the offensive glass, decent range on the jumper (Robinson admittedly being more consistent) and tremendous athleticism that allows them to come from out of nowhere to block shots that should be all rights be baskets.

    [Sidebar: It’s hard to remember sometimes in light of how many creaking, tottering seasons the Admiral had at the end of his career, but he was a revelation when he burst on the scene, a breath of fresh air at a center position which had grown stale with folks such as Moses Malone, Robert Parish and Bill Laimbeer, James Donaldson, Mark Eaton all clogging the lane like so much bad cholesterol gumming up the aorta of a 400-pound heart attack sufferer.]

    There’s glaring differences, of course: Robinson was much more fundamentally sound, he has height that Randolph won’t ever be able to match, and was far stronger even as a rookie than Randolph is now. And then there’s the matter of their diametrically opposed temperaments on the court – unless Robinson had a penchant for tears of which I was previously unaware.

    Don’t forget, though, that Robinson came into the league at 24 years of age thanks to his four years at Annapolis and two years of naval service. Randolph won’t be 24 until after his SIXTH season in the NBA is in the books. By that point in time, I expect that Randolph will have closed the gap – if not eliminated it completely – in terms of strength.

    There’s no way at this point that Randolph can match Robinson’s Rookie of the Year trophy from 1990. But there are still other awards – 10 All-Star appearances, Defensive Player of the Year, MVP – that could be within Randolph’s reach.

    Contact: geofflepper@48minutes.net

35 Responses to “Digging deeper for a comparison to Warriors rookie Anthony Randolph yields a very interesting list”

  1. As always, great work. Most exciting athlete in Bay Area sports since I don’t even know when.

  2. I don’t know what to think about AR. This off-season will determine his commitment to being an elite player.

    The Admiral went to college and served 2 of his 5 years (right?) His rookie year came at an age well beyond AR’s 18, He was born 65 and entered the NBA in ‘89 or about 24 years old.

  3. Nice job. Wonder why Nelson didn’t notice a few months ago.

  4. Nice get, Geoff. But while we’re at it, let’s take it one step further.

    Randolph has played in only 56 games this year — with seven to go. That means at most he’ll play in 63 of the 82 games. ALL of the three mentioned — Hakeem, DR, and Shaq — played at least 81 games, and ALL started at least 81 games.

    Randolph has now started a handful, but averages less than 16 minutes a game. None of the three mentioned AVERAGED less than 35 — Hakeem at 35.5, DR at 36.6, Shaq at 37.9. So AR is playing less than HALF the time these guys played their first year, and on a team that has amassed 49 losses (with seven games yet to play). Where’s the sense in that????

    Randolph has shown talents — on both ends of the court — that make clear he is a special player. He’s learned to defend without fouling — the ticky-tacks called in the Kings game notwithstanding. He plays all out all the time. (Hellooooo, Jack.) He’s picking up new tricks with increasing frequency, and is now hitting the face-up jumper with some consistency. (He’s shooting at 47%, which ain’t that bad, either.) He’s easily the most fun guy to watch on the court now. (Despite some of Monta’s terrific plays, his wretched defense is just too great a limitation to make him as much fun to watch.) When he’s on the court the team plays MUCH faster. And, most important, he hasn’t let Nelson — and the Fat Man’s lunatic style — break him.

    So, why hasn’t he played more this year? Why was his development artificially stunted for the first 50 games? Why were the Warriors content to go down the drain without playing their young core for so long?

    Only one explanation: an idiotic and petulant coach, arrogant beyond belief, who holds grudges forever (Hello, Al!), and is just so limited in his soporific vision that one has to suspend disbelief just to watch him take a pretty good collection of players and turn them into the dreck we’ve been forced to experience for two years now.

    Just think how much better we might be prepared for next year if Nelson had simply worked on defense, developed his young core, and played a fast 9-10 man rotation every game. But instead of progress that was there for the taking, WE got took by a Full Nelson.

  5. Randolph’s rookie season has been impressive with respect to rebounding and blocking shots. He also has a penchant for turning the ball over at ridiclous rates and being a terrible scorer w/respect to efficiency.

    Off the top of my head 2 other rookie PFs came to mind… Maresse Speights and Kevin Love. Love is having a better season and Speights is arguably having a better season. In addition you can add Beasley into the argument(more of a SF).

    This article is just cherry picking stats. You can say this to say it if you want, but drawing any conclusions from this is a waste of time.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/fc/tiny.cgi?id=mBJOS <- comparison

    I think Randolph should be compared vs. his peers first and foremost and he is doing a nice job, but he isn’t even leading the pack right now…

  6. The argument that Randolph can be a special player is fine, although even now he is not in the top 20 rookies on Thorpe’s list at espn. I like Nellie’s assessment: he can do the spectacular but not the ordinary. He has no go to move or any sort of offensive game besides dunks and a set shot that shows potential but isn’t automatic by any means.

    The argument that Nellie has somehow stunted his growth is BOGUS. Is it really a given that a 19 year old player will develop more if he is given a free reign? He’s already played more than Monte has in his first year. It’s clear that he needed (and still needs) some discipline — what other carrots/sticks do coaches have besides playing time? He’s fun to watch, but clearly needs to work on his game. A lot of practice this summer is key. I am glad Randolph has agreed to stay around and work during the off season.

  7. I don’t know that Randolph is quite as bad as you think with the turnovers. Early on, he was terrible, it’s true. He doesn’t qualify for minutes, but if he did he’d rank #15 in TO/48, which is bad, but considering how horrendous he was early in the year, maybe not as bad as it seems. Also, there’s some pretty good company in the top 15, including Nash, Deron Williams, Yao, Wade, Melo, and Dwight Howard. Since he’s shown improvement and he’s so young, I’m not *that* worried about his turnovers.

  8. Duff Soviet Union

    Nigel, the difference is that those guys have the ball in their hands all the time. Randolph doesn’t. His turnovers, right now, are terrible. But yeah, he will improve in that area. I think it will always be a weakness though.

  9. Do you guys who say that he has been turnover prone even watch the games? I believe that he hasn’t had more than 2 in a game in the last 5. Look at box scores. Last night he played 39 minutes, and had 1 turnover while inhaling 15 rebounds, and scoring 20 points against a solid defesive team in New Orleans. Tunrover prone? How about a quick learner? How about only 19 years old? Wow, you guys obviously pay a lot of attention.

  10. He could easily be the 1st pick in this year’s draft. Blake Grifin will be a solid NBA player, but won’t have the same amount of positive impact on games that Randolph has had, and will have. That was one hell of a pick at 14. Best draft by the W’s in years.

  11. AR, Beans, Monta, Buki,RT,AM, must stay all others should go But really join the Boycott until Chris Cohan sells the team!!!

  12. Randolph’s numbers would look even better except for the fact that Nelson didn’t deem him worthy of getting off of the bench the first half of the season. If it wasn’t for the lousy season and all the injuries, Nelson would have let him rot on the bench and continued to play small ball the rest of the year. He is just horrible in his handling of young, new, and especially taller players. Mullin’s last draft pick will probably turn out to be his best, as long as Nelson and Rowell don’t trade him away, which they are incompetant enough to do.

  13. Geoff-
    Nice “did you know” column. Very good work and analysis. Hats off to JSL for the follow. Nice 411.
    I was just wondering last night about the rookie blocks record as I watched the game.
    For a guy who is 19, i think we can table the turnover debate right now. The fact is that AR plays hard, makes some dumb mistakes ( i.e.- missed dunk in crunch time) but usually works to redeem those mistakes at the other end or on the next play.
    The most exciting thing about Randolph is that he likely hasn’t even tapped into 1/2 of his full potential and really doesn’t have a coach on the W’s staff that teaches big men for a living. I would really like to see where his offensive game could go if he were to learn a post up and pick and roll game. AR doesn’t even have a real drop step move right now. You can see how Wright and Andris developed this stuff and became a lot better in the post. If AR works on this - he will be tough to guard. His game will also evolve when he slows down a little bit. You can see a lot of tip in’s where he over runs the rim or jumps too early. He gets eye’s wide open and goes for it. As he develops a little more control- he could be a real nice piece.
    I disagree about Love and Speights having a better season. Love is going to be solid but will also be limited in a lot of aspects of his game. I like Speights too- but his play this year hasnt done anything to set him above AR at this point. I think as both play more that debate will solve itself in time.

  14. Anthony Randolph has the talent to become a dominant player in the NBA … but, please, do not ever compare his game to that of players like David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwon and Shaquille O’Neal.

    FYI … Appropriate comparisons for Anthony Randolph :-)

  15. hey lepper, i was really excited to read this article before i read it can you do another article that has some real comparisons like a kevin garnett, duh came into the league young and tall and dribbling, ok yea AR cant pass but more like garnett then the others mentioned please re-write this same article and put some real comparisons in, come on shaq!wtf

  16. Another set of strictly statistical comparisons :

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/fc/tiny.cgi?id=wgdnX

  17. He looks like the next Shawn Marion, without the 3-point shooting. The comparisions to centers are ridiculous.

  18. [...] rookie des Warriors ? Josh Smith ? Lamar Odom ? Chiffres à l’appui, le bien nommé site 48minutes.net prouve que Randolph peut être comparé à Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson et Shaquille [...]

  19. [...] nothing is impossible, but it’s going to take a lot more than praying for Tony Randolph to become Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson or Shaq in his sophomore season (I’d be ecstatic with a harder working, better rebounding version of [...]

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  21. He looks like the next Shawn Marion, without the 3-point shooting. The comparisions to centers are ridiculous.

  22. so, why hasn’t he played more this year? Why was his development artificially stunted for the first 50 games? Why were the Warriors content to go down the drain without playing their young core for so long?

  23. This type of information is exactly what I have been looking for, thanks very much for helping me out.

  24. He looks like the next Shawn Marion, without the 3-point shooting. The comparisions to centers are ridiculous.

  25. He looks like the next Shawn Marion, without the 3-point shooting. The comparisions to centers are ridiculous.

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