(One minor note: I’m finally using my full name, not that any sane person should care. I wanted some distance from an old NBA PR job, but those days seem long gone. Might as well go full government name.)
Eventually, when we’re all old and I’ve grown a gray Baron beard, someone will purchase this mess. The worth shall inherit the meek. I have no clue why the David Lee for Anthony Randolph deal happened, or how it impacts the Warriors price tag. Pre-deal, the Warriors roster was intriguingly flexible. Now, Larry Coon can’t glance at our cap situation for fear of turning to stone.
Here’s what I’m certain of: The buyer of the Warriors can’t bring Anthony Randolph back. I keep reading about how Randolph didn’t fulfill his potential—that he’s been a bit of a disappointment. I was only let down by AR’s ankle, not his play. I’d bet money we regret the trade, mock me if and when I’m wrong. As we wait for what’s next, I recall the meme that doomed his Warriors career:
Frankly, Anthony Randolph is too inconsistent.
Where are the stats on this consistency? Honestly, show me the standard deviations, pull out the graphs. His game logs seem normal to my dull, mushy brain. Say that inconsistency proof exists. Still, why was consistency so valued on last year’s awful team? I know Mikki Moore was consistent—consistently compostable.
The inconsistency message was a Wright-thin excuse for doling out scrub minutes (Vlad Rad must play center, Randolph’s too inconsistent, isn’t it obvious!). Half the Warriors fans swallowed this swill, while hoop nerds outside our bubble laughed knowingly. This was an exercise in self-destruction, true to form for Oakland’s masters of masochism.
Now we’ll never benefit from what Anthony Randolph could have been—he was given away for the right to sign Lee. I can’t claim to know his future career trajectory, but I would have paid to see it. Ben Franklin might bite my hand if I fork over cash for seats in 2011.
To all who criticized Randolphiles for buying into “hype,” I say “you have a legitimate view.” But I bought his damned stats, which were impressive…when he played…which was rarely…probably because he played for those who celebrated mediocrity at impressive’s expense.
Regardless of how you feel about Randolph, admit this: We deserved to find out. We deserved more minutes, more evaluation, more leeway, more flying blocks, more two-handed screaming-stuffs, more excitement in an otherwise dreary year. And we deserved another season, with a different coach. We deserved better.
One of the most gratifying fan experiences is watching a player grow into his own. Perhaps it’s stupid to derive so much pleasure from this investment but I honestly love it. The analysis of a young player’s improvement is the best reason for following the sub .500 club. As human beings we should enjoy watching the young progress—it taps into a visceral parental urge. While I detest racial sports paternalism (As in, the stupid dress code and age requirement), hoping for growth is more than acceptable. There’s a vicarious thrill in watching an athlete grab hold of his talent.
Randolph’s “Eurkea!” moments were adrenaline jolts. His unique skill set had drawn me in, the Nelson drama had me on the edge of my couch. Every Randolph outing was a head-jarring whoosh down a teetering rollercoaster. A missed shot could rob you of Anthony Randolph in favor of 30 Mikki Moore minutes. So obviously, the stakes couldn’t have been higher. Whenever he played well, my subconscious shouted, “Yes! Maybe they won’t trade him! Maybe I’ll get to see how this plays out.” Well, he’s been traded, this is how it played out. And, as Cleveland mourns LeBron this offseason, I watch Randolph highlights with liquid metal roiling my intestines. It sucks to be a Warriors fan.