On the morning of June 26, Anthony Randolph was a member of the Denver Nuggets.
He was coming off of his second season in Denver, during which he averaged more than 12 minutes per game for the club while appearing in 43 games. His numbers weren’t spectacular — for the season he averaged 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and just under half a block per game — but he played some decent minutes for the Nuggets and helped fill the gaps after numerous players were lost to injury. Randolph’s future wasn’t exactly bright in Denver, but he looked like the type of player who could stick with the team and provide 8-10 minutes a game off the bench.
And then came Draft Day 2014.
The Nuggets traded Randolph to the Chicago Bulls as part of the draft day swap that sent the draft rights to Doug McDermott to the Windy City in exchange for the rights to Jusuf Nurkic and Gary Harris (picks 16 and 19 in the draft, respectively). The Bulls were in a similar position of having a roster that was heavy with bigs, so it wasn’t immediately clear how Randolph would fit into Chicago’s plans. Yesterday, that situation came into clearer focus when the Bulls reportedly sent Randolph and two second-round picks to the Orlando Magic for the rights to Serbian big man, Milovan Rakovic, a move that is widely seen as an attempt to for the Bulls to clear cap space.
According to various reports, the Magic are expected to waive Randolph, meaning he soon could be without a home in the NBA. Considering Randolph was selected by the Golden State Warriors with the number 14 pick in the 2008 draft, it’s almost shocking how far and how fast he’s fallen. In just six seasons, Randolph has played for five different teams (not counting the Bulls and Magic, neither of whom it appears he will ever play a single game). His career stats are a pedestrian 7.1 points and 4.3 boards per game, but there are plenty of players with similar stats who hang around in the league beyond six seasons.
Randolph’s story is nothing new, and there’s no shortage of example of players never living up to their potential in the league. But it’s still sobering to see how quickly a player’s career can change in a matter of less than a month. There’s no reason to believe Randolph won’t get another look from a team hoping to add front court depth. Although he’s bounced around the league, he’s shown occasional flashes of the talent that made him a first-round pick. I know everyone in Denver wishes him the best of luck wherever he ends up.