Even without Kevin Love, your Timberpups have been saved from being completely unwatchable. You can thank one guy for that - Anthony Randolph.
In the second game of a back to back against one of the best teams in the league, Randolph came through with another fantastic game: 24 points and 15 rebounds in 37 minutes of play.
It's interesting to sort of poll leaguewide opinion on Ant. When he first arrived in 'Sota, I recieved quite a few comments from Knicks fans who told me he was dumb as rock. His per36 projections meant nothing and he'd never be a good NBA player. Because he was dumb as a rock. He couldn't earn playing time with two different coaches, so he must not be very good. Because he was dumb as a rock.
Here's what I see: Randolph does have flaws. His basketball IQ isn't the greatest, true...he sometimes takes bad shots, makes bad passes, and gets lost on defense. He's not real great with his back to the basket. Sometimes he gets going way too fast, develops tunnel vision, or gives up defensive position trying to swat a ball he has no chance to get at.
But on the flip side, there's already a ton to like in him. His face-up game is superb. He has fantastic footwork...a huge array of jab steps and counters...and has mastered the art of initiating contact on the way to the hoop. Great rebounding, great handles. He's a real presence at the rim defensively, really alters a lot of shots. And while his jump shot is hit-or-miss right now, he has the right mechanics, so there's real reason to believe he'll develop into a consistent threat from 15-20 feet...possibly even beyond that.
And the IQ thing will come to him. He's only 21. I think he's effectively demonstrated that he's not the lost cause upstairs that some claim he is. He's not a Gerald Green or Joe Alexander. A lot of big men who enter the league as teenagers take a few years to really understand the game. Dwight Howard, Tyson Chandler, Lamar Odom, even Kevin Garnett..."space cadets", as Phil Jackson would say, their first couple of seasons. Just activity and force. Ant Randolph is sitting right on the edge of being a 20-10 guy and he's operating basically just on instinct right now, so it's encouraging to think how much better he can be as his head catches up with his frame.
Anyway, Randolph is about the only reason I'm still paying attention at this point. I'm guessing it's the same for most of you. He's fun to watch. For me, the most basketball entertaining player to put on a Wolves' uni since KG. So even at the tail end of a disaster season, that's something at least.
And while I, in no way, am advocating a Kevin Love trade, if we take S-n-P's sort of sarcastic comment from a few weeks ago:
Might not be the worst thing in the world...