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The Knicks get a lottery pick in Randolph

8/4/2010

The first of three posts on the players the Knicks acquired from the Golden State Warriors.

If Anthony Randolph stayed at LSU through his junior season, there’s little doubt he would be a Top 5 pick in this year’s draft. So for Knicks fans lamenting their absence in this past year’s lottery, this is your pick -- and he’s a steal.

Fresh off his 21st birthday, Randolph is younger than lottery selections Wesley Johnson, Ekpe Udoh and Ed Davis. But he already has an NBA resume that includes 13 double-doubles to his name. Over the past two years Randolph's play can be best characterized as erratic but that’s par for the course with a youngster bubbling with raw talent like Randolph.

So what will Randolph bring to Madison Square Garden? Armed with the ball-handling skills of a small forward, the height of a power forward and the wingspan of a center, Randolph is a project in versatility. The lefty could use some more muscle on his wiry frame as long as he doesn’t compromise his dynamite explosiveness. Despite his bounce and length, Randolph got blocked once every 10 shots which places him among the most-swatted power forwards in the game, indicating he could use the extra strength at the rim.

Randolph will fit nicely in Mike D’Antoni's system since he excels in the transition game but often forces things when he tries to take his man one-on-one in the halfcourt. In New York, he won’t have to start from a standstill on the perimeter since the offense predicates itself around speed and the pick-and-roll.

Defensively, he looks much better in the box score than he does in person. That is, he racks up plenty of steals and blocks (he tallied eight in one game last season) through his risk-taking style but he’s no match for bruising big men who gladly take advantage of his frailty in the post. Imagine a shot-blocking version of David Lee as both allowed their opponents to score a basement-dwelling 51 percent on post-up situations, according to Synergy Sports Technology.

With Amar’e Stoudemire and Randolph anchoring the paint next season, expect lots of pump-fake easy buckets at the rim.

Still, Randolph is all about upside. He’s demonstrated the flighty attention span one would expect from someone under the drinking age but he’s also managed to average 16.9 points and 11.1 rebounds per 36 minutes during his two-year career. He’s fresh off a career-stunting environment in Golden State but he’s also recovering from season-ending surgery that repaired three torn ligaments in his left ankle.

Even the Knicks brass don’t know what to expect from Randolph next season but he could easily approach double-double territory in a Knicks uniform. And to think, the Knicks could have let Lee leave for nothing.

Tom Haberstroh is a regular contributor to ESPN Insider and an NBA analyst for Hoopdata.com. You can follow him on Twitter: @tomhaberstroh.