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Anthony Randolph: #14 Pick Golden State



We take a short break from our football preview series to talk about Anthony Randolph, the NBA, the college game, and what's wrong with all of them.

A couple weeks ago, I gave my assessment of Anthony Randolph:

My consensus, in reading mock drafts that have him going in the top 10, is that he must be way overrated.  I don't think he has superstar potential, plus I think he has a substantial understudy period before he becomes a really useful player.  Plus, because of his lack of passion, I question the chances that he'll reach whatever upside he has.  He seems like a player who is a substantial risk to flounder and fail to reach his potential.

I think whoever drafts him that high is going to end up disappointed.  Now, if the NBA teams gather some sense and drop him down into the 20s where they're just looking for guys who can play some basketball, Randolph will be a much better pick.  I don't think he's bad, but his top 10 status is, frankly, bewildering to people who watched him at LSU.  He just never showed that kind of ability or competitive drive.
As it happens, I think a lot of NBA scouts and GMs started seeing what I saw, and what some other people saw.  Which is that Randolph just isn't nearly as good as he'd been hyped up to be in pre-draft talk.  I felt like I was living on Bizarro World reading some of the assessments of Randolph, what with his supposed sky-high potential.

That Randolph went almost a full round ahead of Chris Douglas-Roberts is astounding to me.  Maybe it just shows how little I understand the NBA game.

But one thing I think I think I know is that this one-and-done rule is not good for college basketball.  I'm not one to moan about "the integrity of the college game" endlessly, but I do think there comes a point where we're just admitting that college basketball is pure business.  And that point is when we force players into college who have no desire to be there and who have already decided to bolt before they complete two semesters of work.

These one-year-wonders only have to complete one semester of C-average work, then they never have to go to class again.  They are mercenaries, transients, and essentially meaningless to a team in the long term.  But the NBA forces them on us.  I say "us" because I am among the crowd that cares about college sports a lot and professional sports very little.

I'm not against people leaving college early for the draft.  If a guy comes to college and decides, even after just one year, that he is ready for the pro game, that's fine with me.  I am against forcing people to engage in the illusion that they are college students for less than one year.  I would rather the NBA just let these guys enter the draft.  End this fraudulent charade that these guys are students.

If you don't want to force the teams to tote around 18 year old kids, here's what you can do.  Let these players enter the draft right out of high school or when they reach 18 or whatever, but set an age limit to get on an NBA roster.  If you are below the age limit, you can still be drafted, but you go to the D-League or to another professional league while the drafting team retains their rights.  The players would get more basketball experience than they would playing a year in college, and the high draft picks would have guaranteed money.  They'd be playing in some lousy gyms, but they wouldn't have to go to any classes at all.

I'm not going to display my woeful ignorance of the NBA game by attempting to analyze how Randolph fits on Golden State. I know he'll be living in a beautiful part of the country and playing for a historically lousy franchise.  I don't know if that's good for him.  I think his best chance for success would have been to live in a place with lousy weather and expectations of success.  It would have increased his famously low level of intensity.  Unfortunately I can't think of an organization like that.  Maybe Utah.

I wish Randolph luck, but I can't say I'm rooting for him.  He's not a Tiger, and for all it matters, he never really was.