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A Walk Through the Internet, Starring Zach Randolph

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Given the significant and growing buzz surrounding Zach Randolph’s candidacy to become the next starting power forward for your Los Angeles Clippers, it may be fun to take a walk together through the internet to see what we can see. We all have our opinions, including my own first blush statement of "yuck", but let’s get out there to the wide world wide web of sports. The point here is to share some of the websites I find useful and/or interesting, much more than personally breaking down Zachary. I'm hoping that doesn’t actually become necessary, and if it does that’s a definitely a job for ClipperSteve anyway.

My first stop whenever I need to know…anything is definitely Basketball-reference.com. Poke around on the front page and soak in the goodness. If anything happened in basketball ever, they have it. Note the player search in the upper right corner, searching for simply "Zach" gets us where we want to be. The only Zach ever in the NBA. He’s a pretty unique guy already. Also, look at that, good thing for him Corey went north. Now his #50 is available. If you are a proud owner of a Maggette jersey, bust out some tape and with a little magic marker you'll be good to go. This main page chronicles his cumulative exploits, but there is a split and game log section if you want to really break him down. From there totals and per game is pretty self-explanatory. Per 36 minutes stats are nice for removing playing time from the equation. Advanced stats are also featured including pop-favorite PER. You can click on their glossary to learn more about each one.

A few fun observations here, using only the data from his player page. First of note is that Randolph actually led the league in something for the 2005-06 season. Unfortunately for his employer, that would be something called Loss Shares. Being completely honest I’m not precisely sure what it is, but it can’t be good. This page has the information about how Win Shares are calculated. It’s downright mathemagical. One other fun and unexpected thing can be found by looking at 3PA. While still on his rookie contract, that would be 245 games over four years, he attempted a grand total of 16 shots from beyond the arc. After receiving his payday, he suddenly noticed (decided?) he had the green light and got that up to about one per game. Expanding one’s game is all well and good, except he can’t actually hit it. A 27% pace just isn’t getting it done. But Randolph’s payday wasn’t the only thing new for 05-06. The Blazers also brought in a new coach in Nate McMillan. So maybe he really did get the green light, and he’s never looked back.

One final feature before leaving b-ref.com: the Player Comparison Finder. I can imagine some wonderful names to compare, but let’s start with the obvious choice in FElton’s best year versus Zachary’s. If you are a points and rebounds guy, there is a lot to like there. Unfortunately for Zach Randolph’s employers, the devil can be found in the details, if you know where to look.

The place I head next for a sanity check is the Wages of Wins journal. It’s another advanced metric along the lines of PER, but with different weights and sometimes coming up with controversial or unpopular results. I don’t want to get into all that here, just how I use their website. Besides reading the blog, for research I simply click the appropriate team reviews at the top just under the banner. Unfortunately, the reviews for 07-08 have not been completed yet. The best we can do for now is check out Portland’s 06-07 review, which also includes numbers from 05-06. Check out the about pages on the journal if you find yourself curious as to what it all means. Wins produced details can be found at the aptly named Winsproduced.com. I find the site to be difficult to navigate, but it does allow for zooming in to the game level for those "what did I just see" moments.

For a home fan’s perspective, why not check out Blazers Edge or Knickerblogger. It’s a little more difficult to zoom in on the Randolph data at Knickerblogger since it appears that the search includes comments, and Zach Randolph certainly draws comments. Here is Blazers Edge’s Draft Reflections from soon after the draft day trade that sent him to NYC. Knickerblogger’s monthly archives don’t seem to be working so whatever he wrote is probably good but you’ll have to dig it up for yourself.

That’s the sort of progression I go through when I hear the latest rumor of who the Clippers are going to pick up. I could probably link a hundred relevant blogs, but that seems like a good start. Maybe you have been around forever and frequent those sites and can't wait for this post to end, but the FElton drama seems to have attracted some new commenters so it seemed like as good as time as any to call out some quality hoops sites through the lens of our little potential locker room cancer to be. And now we have a central place to hate on Zachary.

Esoterica for the people, and hopefully some food for discussion.