Last night I got treated to a Mikhail Torrance vs Jerome Randle battle at point guard here at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, although they did not guard each other. I’ll save Torrance for a separate post — trust me, he deserves it. But Bay Area and Cal fans, you can be proud that Randle strutted his stuff. And he won over the NBA trainers and draft experts (and refs!) here at courtside on press row.
Randle’s line: 14 pts, 6/11 fg, 2/3 treys, 0/0 ft, 3 reb, 10 ast, 2 stl, 0 blk, 2 to. Poor Lawrence Westbrook (6′0″ 193, Minnesota) had Randle draped all over him on D, and was like chasing a squirrel while D’ing him up.
Randle impressed me, as he always does, with his resiliency and supreme confidence on the floor. But he also showed some perfect, crisp backdoor bounce passes at impressive angles. And nice lob entry passes. I’m not sure I saw that all season in the Pac-10.
When news of Randle’s blow-up reached someone I know at NBAdraft.net, he responded, “Nah, Randle can’t pass and doesn’t have court vision, much as I love my Cal guys [the draft board expert is based in the Bay Area]. I’ve been watching him closely all year.” I concluded that perhaps Randle didn’t have confidence in his teammates this whole time.
The director of a namebrand elite basketball training facility was sitting next to me and proposed this question to the DraftExpress guys: “Let’s say Randle is on the Magic. He subs in for Jameer Nelson. What does Orlando lose?”
The draft board gurus responded, “That’s a good way of putting it.”
On a free throw dead ball, the referee turned to the well-recognized trainer and said, “What do you think? Can he play in the NBA?”
“He’s got Steve Nash-like skillset and numbers,” the trainer replied, referring to the shooting, the passing, and the super-human free throw percentage (now around 93%).
The ref turned to the familiar DraftExpress guys. “What do you think?”
“He’s a complete player.”
Then he turned to me, sitting between them, the unfamiliar face. “And what do you think?”
I said, “Well I’m from Cal, so what do you think I think?!”
To be honest with you, I wasn’t a fan of this year’s discombobulated and somewhat selfish Pac-10 championship team — I’ve told friends that I can think of four or five Cal squads that were a better team than this year’s.
So I was kind of lying to the ref, I actually do not have bias towards Randle. But I’m happy for him and he’s growing on me. I’ve always liked how he takes pride in the game.
IMHO, despite the Portsmouth hype and performance, I just don’t see how an NBA GM can justify picking a guy under 6′0″ in a Draft this deep in big man talent, not to mention the big guards that are available.
As a roster “fanagler”, I’d be hoping to pick him up as a free agent, at no cost of using one of my picks to claim rights to a guy. At that point I can create a better context and “throw him to the wolves”.
At the same time, as with Earl Boykins, I think Randle’s stick-to-it-iveness is out of this world and translates to everything he does in basketball. Sooner or later he will win a spot on an NBA roster. A GM will bring him in with pretty direct comparisons to other diminutive point guards, and he will kick butt.
Then when he gets his opportunity in front of 15,000 fans, the way he won over the 300-or-so attendees here at Churchland High School, he’ll dazzle the crowd and become an instant, kid-friendly fan-favorite.
His marketing potential is huge.
As I was trying to find a nice thumbnail for this article, I found the following blogpost from some guy named Kevin. It’s eerie how this stat-monger Kevin picked a few NBA sleepers.
Maybe he’s onto something. I wouldn’t be surprised if his last name were Nostradamus. Randle is at the top of his list, and this is from 2009 (the link to his article is below the excerpt)…
“The traditional stats are very good; he’s averaging 18 points, 3 rebounds, and 5 assists per game for an average-paced team. He takes fairly good care of the ball too, posting a 1.69/1 assist-to-turnover ratio. But look at this ridiculousness: 50% from the field, 87.8% from the line, and 45.2% from three-point range. The result is a eFG% of 60.3, good for 64th in the nation and fourth in the Pac-10 conference. He shoots this insane percentage while also using 25.5% of his team’s possessions, which is fifth in the conference. Randle is also 5′10″ tall and looks terrifying when he’s calling out a play. Between his efficiency, stature, and nightmare-inducing facial expressions, I’m shocked we haven’t heard more about him.”
Read the whole article at:
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