FanPost

In Defense of Zach Randolph...

 Zach Randoph takes a lot of heat on this board and elsewhere.  It seems every day someone comments about how Mike Dunleavy was the only GM dumb enough to take on ZBO's contract.  Im a little thrown off by this.  We lose Elton Brand, our 20-10 power forward, and bring in Randolph.- who is a 20-10 power forward (and only 27 years old btw).  I grant you that Zach is over-payed, but its not as though hes a scrub who got paid and then quit.  Zach is still a young player with a great post game, and he brings it every night. Sure, he is not an elite defender, but he can run the floor and has even developed range out to the 3 point line.  The guy thrives in a D'Antoni system just as easily as he does in a Dunleavy system.  He is shooting almost 49% from the floor, and he is a solid free throw shooter.  In my opinion, ZBO and Gordon were the lone bright spots in what was easily one of the worst Clippers seasons ever.

  I can't accept the argument that Randolph should have to be ousted because he is a bad basketball player, because the truth is he is a pretty damn good basketball player.  It is legitimate however to argue that a player is not right for a team/organization based on character, as many have argued about Zach. That being said, I would argue that Zach's reputation exceeds his wrongdoings, and that many people unfairly view him as a bad guy, due in large part to his time with the "jailblazers." 

While In Portland, Zach notoriously punched Ruben Patterson in the face during a practice.  From what I understand it was in defense of fellow team mate Q Woods.  More recently, he threw a punch in a game at the Phoenix Suns.  Fighting is unfortunate, but Zach isnt the first guy to have done this.  I never heard anyone call for the dismissal of Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Reggie Miller, Shaquille Oneal, Charles Barkley, or any of the countless other stars who let fists fly on the basketball court.  In fact, when KG does it, ipeople actually argue that it's because he is just so passionate about the game and winning.  Not so with Zach.

Also while in Portland, Randolph was involved in a sexual assault case (no charges were filed), as well as a an incident where he was a passenger in a car that was stopped for speed racing.   Police found loaded guns in the car.  However, there were no charges because zach actually had a concealed weapons permit.  His other "incidents" all seem to be that he was mentioned in the report because he was there, but never really got into much trouble.  He rounds up the trouble with a few ounces of marijuana and tardiness offenses in Portland-- unfortunate, but not unforgiveable.

Now clearly, Zach is no Saint.   He was certainly often in places he shouldn't have been, doing things he shouldn't have been doing.  But lets remember, Zach came into the NBA at a young age, and was on a team that was not a good fit for someone with the problems he had.  It seems to me however, that since leaving Portland, there have been no reports of Zach as being a bad locker room guy, no serious trouble off the court (outside of the DUI), and he plays hard. Personally, I do not have a problem with a guy like that.

So maybe Randolph is not a saint, nor is he the perfect power forward.  But Zach Randolph has not hurt the Clippers on or off the court.  While the Clippers had a lot of problems this season, ZBO's play was not one of them.  As for his contract, I will start complaining when he stops producing.

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