April 29, 2018, 5:58 pm
2017-18 averages: 59 G | 57 GS | 25.6 MP | 14.5 PTS | 6.7 REB | 2.2 AST | 0.7 STL | 0.2 BLK | 2.0 TOV | 47.3 FG% | 34.7 3P% | 78.5 FT% |
What an interesting season it was for Zach Randolph. When he signed a two-year, $24 million deal with the Kings last offseason, many were optimistic about how he might contribute to the team. Randolph, nonetheless, was exactly as advertised for the Kings.
The 36-year-old veteran is well-known for his offensive intangibles and he was more than serviceable for the Kings on that end of the court. Randolph’s low post scoring has been a successful trait of his throughout the duration of his career, but on a rebuilding team like Sacramento he certainly showed a tendency to hurl 3-pointers often – at a career-high rate, nonetheless. His 2.5 3-point attempts per game stood tall over his previous career high of 1.9 attempts per game back in the 2008-09 season. The 0.9 3-pointers he made per game was also the highest mark since that same season.
His duel with former King DeMarcus Cousins back in December was one of the most entertaining games of the season. Randolph dropped 35 points with five 3-pointers, and was instrumental in getting the Kings the victory.
Randolph served as the No. 1 option on the team through the first few months, averaging 18.1 points per game in December alone. His random offensive explosions proved to be big for the Kings on multiple occasions throughout the season, and it’s probably fair to say he exceeded all expectations on offense purely based on those outbursts. On the whole, he was a solid offensive option for Sacramento.
Randolph didn’t play in the team’s final nine games, making way for the likes of Skal Labissiere, Jack Cooley and Nigel Hayes, among others. He wasn’t alone, however, as most of the team’s veterans were in a similar position and he was more than aware what he was signing up for back in July.
One of the major positives of signing a guy like Randolph was the off-court presence he brings to a team. He has a tremendous basketball mind and the knowledge that he has been able to pass on to Labissiere, Harry Giles and the other bigs on the roster is invaluable. Giles mentioned it specifically in this interview.
Defensively, though, it’s another story. Randolph has always struggled on defense, but those deficiencies have become even more apparent during his lone season with the Kings. They were present during his time in Memphis, but playing next to a guy like Marc Gasol – and on a superior team defensively overall – helped hide the issues.
Randolph was constantly burned by whoever he was guarding, especially by more agile big men, and it really hurt the Kings on multiple occasions. The team as a whole was incredibly bad on defense, posting a defensive rating of 111.1, third worst in the league. Randolph, himself, posted a defensive rating of 111, the second worst mark of his career and worst since 2005-06.
With $12 million guaranteed on his contract for next season it’s likely that Randolph sticks around. Like he did during the 2017-18 campaign, Randolph may get extended minutes out of the gate, but you can almost certainly expect that to drop as the season progresses. Stomaching the defensive downside that be brings to the table will be worth it for Sacramento, who are still in rebuilding mode and will be for the next few years to come.
Randolph’s presence on the sidelines is huge, just like it was having someone like Vince Carter around, so fans should be perfectly fine if he’s is still around come October.
It’s easy to complain about his defense but his contributions overall probably outweighed the negatives this season, and that’s all fans should really be asking for from a 16-year NBA veteran.