Warriors coach Don Nelson said he’s going to unleash Anthony Randolph.
Nelson has been waiting for Randolph to grow and get ready for what he has in store for Randolph. He said his stint at center has helped make him a better PF. And now that Biedrins and Turiaf are on their way back, he’s ready to open up a can of genius on Randolph – if Randolph can handle it.
NELLIE: “You ain’t seen nothing yet. He’s going to be a blessed guy if he can mentally prepare himself and handle what I’m going to give him. Because both he and Radmanovic has the ability as a big player to handle the ball and to make it difficult for the defense to match up with us. As long as he grows and matures and understands what we’re doing — and it was a very good practice (Sunday) for him — the sky’s the limit on how I can use the guy and go to his strengths.”
Randolph said he’s been told he’s going to handle the ball more and initiate the offense. Until recently, the last 10 games or so I think, he was relegated to back-up center duties. But lately, thanks to injuries and his improved play, he’s been given more and more rope. Once told not to shoot because of his propensity for ill-advised jumpers, the staff seemed to have confidence in his ability to stick the midrange and pull the opposing center out of the key. They also have more confidence in him driving up the court, which used to be just shy of an automatic turnover.
NELLIE: “I’ve always expected a lot of him. I think he’s right on schedule. What I’ve been able to do with him as a back-up center and be creative that way has now opened the door for him to be a four and do the same things and have a better understanding. It’s very easy to do what I want him to do against fives. They don’t guard you, they don’t get into you. I think now he’s ready to be a four and do some of the same things, so we’ll see. But I’m excited about seeing how its going to work.
“I’d say over the last month I’ve been working with him. Certainly I thought his best games were when I did that. We did that Orlando. We did it in San Antonio. Those guys better know they’re blessed, because there is nothing more fun for a player to be in control of the ball and be able to make some plays. I think he has the ability to do that.”
Randolph was actually pretty lucid about his new situation and the prospect of more minutes and more responsibility. He normally doesn’t say much. But he was able to mix in some basketball philosophy while making sure people know Nellie hasn’t given him anything he hasn’t earned.
RANDOLPH: “It allows me to do a lot more with my game. They told me they were going to allow me to have the ball in my hands a lot more, initiate the offense and make plays for my teammates. … I’m just playing basketball. Whether he’s telling me to go set pick and rolls or just handle the ball a lot more. … I’d say the only downside to that is me being out on the top of the floor with the ball a lot more is that I don’t have a chance to offensive rebound as much as I was able to in the past. … I don’t think he gave (me this opportunity) just because he wanted to. I think that I kind of, over this season and last season, I’ve shown him little by little that I can handle the ball and make plays for my teammates.”