It makes little sense to get too excited about Anthony Randolph’s record-tying 42 points in his last summer league game, since the man whose record he ties was Marcus Banks. Marco Belinelli tossed in at least a couple 30-point games in his summer league career, too.
Still, it’s clear that Randolph is the most valuable player the Warriors have under contract, and they need to plan for a future where he’s the star of the team, no questions asked.
What do stars need? Sidekicks. At least one, but two wouldn’t hurt. Unfortunately, unless Stephen Curry blossoms into Steve Nash, 2.0 like Don Nelson hopes, there isn’t a player on the team with the right blend of talent and positional capability to help Randolph lead the Warriors to a championship.
Monta Ellis? He brings scoring and not much else.
Andris Biedrins? Randolph is a more imposing presence already, with a more varied offensive game. Biedrins does some things, but not enough to think he can help lead the Warriors to NBA Finals with a group of crafty role players.
There’s nobody else, either, unless Curry rises above his reportedly mediocre athleticism and becomes a slick-shooting distributor. Why do you think Randolph has spent his off-season joined at the hip with Anthony Morrow? Because Morrow’s the only young guy on the team besides Monta who Randolph thinks can help him win. And Randolph not only plays with a blend of frenetic athleticism the Warriors haven’t seen since LaTrell Sprewell was around, he also seems like a guy who wants to win, and soon.
One might be reading this and wonder if I’m jumping the gun with all this Randolph/championship talk, but I’m serious. Put it this way, if Chris Paul was mistakenly traded to the Warriors for Monta Ellis, they’d make the NBA Finals within four years (if they had a top-tier coach who gave any thought to defense, anyway…Jeff Van Gundy?).
Too bad for at least the next two years (unless the Warriors surprisingly use their mid-level on Ramon Sessions, but we all know the Warriors won’t be spending any more money this off-season, for a variety of reasons) Randolph will pretty much be on his own.
On his own with Nelson, who likely still has some bitterness lingering from last year’s perceived petulance from Randolph.
On his own on defense, where he’s backed up by Biedrins (who can’t guard centers) and Ronny Turiaf (far more worried about blocking shots than blocking out).
On his own on offense, where he’ll need to find ways to score based on put-backs and transition dunks, because the Warriors will still be one of the worst passing teams in the league.
Enough depressing thoughts though, since the Warriors won’t be getting a point guard (or center) anytime soon who’ll help make Randolph better on either end of the floor, and Nelson’s going to coach the team as long as Robert Rowell patrols the offices at 1000 Broadway. Even if the Warriors aren’t doing all they can to build a team that can take advantage of Randolph, at least we can take advantage of watching him. I can’t wait until November.