Randolph underrated

Zach Randolph is averaging almost 37 minutes-per-game and scoring 20.0 ppg.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - You would think that an NBA player who can average 20 points and 10 rebounds-per-game would be a prize possession. There are very few in the league who can put up numbers like that. In fact, last year there were just four players who accomplished the feat - Al Jefferson, Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard and the star of this piece, Zach Randolph.

Why then, is Randolph playing for his fourth team in five years.

The former Michigan State star was drafted after his freshman season by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2001 (19th overall pick) and after a couple of learning years exploded onto the scene in the 2003-04 season. That was his first "20-10" season. His best statistical year was his final one in Portland in 2006-07 when he posted 23.7 ppg and 10.1 rpg.

In June 2007 Randolph was traded to the New York Knicks in a five-player deal which included Steve Francis and Channing Frye. The move was made primarily because Portland won the No.1 overall draft choice in the Draft Lottery and intended to select Greg Oden.

Randolph played one and a half years in New York and though his scoring and rebounding numbers were solid, didn't seem to play hard every night. He was also a defensive liability.

Randolph was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in the middle of the 2008 season . The Clippers were looking for a stronger inside game because they didn't think that Chris Kaman was the answer. Randolph played just 39 games in Los Angeles due to injuries.

In July 2009, Randolph was traded again, this time to Memphis. As in the trade from Portland, the deal was made to open up a spot for their No.1 selection. This time the pick was Blake Griffin.

So Randolph finds himself in Memphis this season on a very young team that won just 24 games last year (24-58).

The team is starting to gel with Randolph and Marc Gasol up front and Mike Conley, O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay in the backcourt. The Grizzlies are 14-16 through the first 30 games and eighth in the league in scoring. However, like Randolph, the team is struggling on the defensive end of the floor.

Randolph is averaging almost 37 minutes-per-game and scoring 20.0 ppg while pulling down 11.4 rebounds. Not bad for a seventh-round fantasy selection. (ADP 77). Although he doesn't fill up the rest of the stat sheet, it's hard to turn down a "20-10" guy. He also shoots well from the foul line (77.%).

"I knew he was a great scorer, said Gasol in an interview with commercialappeal.com. "But I don't think everyone knew how good of a teammate and how much of a winner he is. I give him a lot of credit for that. And you have to play with him to know how well he passes. Maybe they're not the fancy passes, but he's effective."

"What else do you want me to say?" said coach Lionel Hollins. "The guy has been great. He's rebounded, he's scored and he's even defended."

Randolph may have finally found a home.

Zach Randolph NBA Statistics
Year Gm PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3PT% FT%
2001-02 41 2.8 1.7 0.3 0.2 0.1 44.9 0.0 66.7
2002-03 77 8.4 4.5 0.5 0.5 0.2 51.3 0.0 75.8
2003-04 81 20.1 10.5 2.0 0.8 0.5 48.5 20.0 76.1
2004-05 46 18.9 9.6 1.9 0.7 0.4 44.8 0.0 81.5
2005-06 74 18.0 8.0 1.9 0.8 0.2 43.6 29.1 71.4
2006-07 68 23.6 10.1 2.2 0.8 0.2 46.7 29.2 81.9
2007-08 69 17.6 10.3 2.0 0.9 0.2 45.9 27.5 77.2
2008-09 50 20.8 10.1 2.1 0.9 0.3 47.5 33.0 73.4
2009-10 30 20.0 11.4 2.0 0.9 0.5 50.6 27.3 83.8


Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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