When the Knicks acquired Anthony Randolph in a sign-and-trade for David Lee, there was a lot of discussion about how he’d fit into D’Antoni’s system. Randolph has been the subject of a million discussions about the possibility of running point forward, and when he was moved to D’Antoni’s club those discussions exploded.
Randolph carries with him both a good and bad tag. He’s capable of working at multiple positions which makes him versatile. He also hasn’t excelled at any one particular position and struggles with awareness. He can become lost very easily, but that may be a product of Don Nelson’s questionable development track.
At summer league in Las Vegas, I asked D’Antoni where Randolph fits in with this Knicks club, and the answer was clear, D’Antoni knows Randolph’s value lies in his versatility.
“He’s a multi-position player that has a world of talent whose athleticism is off the charts. He’s only played two years in the league and just turned 21. There’s a lot of positives and we’ll figure out where we fit him in, and figure out what the best position is for him, but he can play a lot of places. “
Under D’Antoni’s seven seconds or left, the idea of a pick and roll using Randolph as ball handler with Amar’e Stoudemire could be a devastating combo. He’ll need to improve in several areas, but with the work that D’Antoni was able to do with Boris Diaw at multiple possessions, there’s a good chance this could be one of the more exciting combinations in the league.
Randolph is full of untapped potential and needs the right opportunity to utilize what he has: versatility. There may be no better place for him than New York.
Notes and observations on Pistons-Kings at Las Vegas summer league…
- DeMarcus Cousins is worn out. Cousins slugged through a bad performance today versus the Pistons, finishing 5-18. Still, he dropped 16 and 10, and actually finished with a triple-double (16,10, and 10 fouls). That’s right, DeMarcus Cousins fouled out of a Summer League game. But by the same token, it was just as evident in this game as with all others that there is going to be a very short list of players who will be able to handle Cousins physically. Wide enough? You’re unlikely to have the height and speed to combat his post moves. Great length? You’re probably going to have trouble with his huge frame and physicality. It’s summer league and the score will change when it’s Tim Duncan or Andrew Bynum defending, but there are going to be scores of players struggling to even handle him.
- On the flip side, Greg Monroe had a tremendous game. It wasn’t just the box (27 points on 8-10 shooting, 14 rebounds), it was that Monroe looked downright dominant for long stretches, powering through weaker defenders and using an array of drop-step hooks to ruin the opposition. As I commented to a colleague, “That move right there is what Dwight Howard is criticized for not having.” Debate continues on whether Monroe will wind up as a 4 or a 5, and his lack of blocks is indicative of greater issue with his defense. But all in all, not a bad day.
- Bill Walker was a man among boys for the Knicks, He continued to find seams in the Pistons’ defense and finished with 19 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block. And of course, he got in a few wicked dunks.
- Mike D’Antoni was in attendance watching the action, looking affable. Amar’e Stoudemire arrived with entourage, including his son wearing a custom Ama’re Knicks jersey. Stoudemire took questions from the press and did an interview on NBA TV, but also snuck in a few minutes with a Knicks assistant, watching the offense and comparing notes on assignments.