Anthony Randolph’s career has been a series of miscalculated endeavors. Saying I was wrong for believing Randolph to be the key to the New York Knicks’ rise would be an understatement. He’s been an absolute disappointment, but that hasn’t changed who he is. He still possesses the same gangly frame with the most forlorn face you’ve ever seen. He still possesses all the potential in the world. And he still has absolutely no clue what to do with it.
There are only two ways of looking at Randolph. Either you see what he can become —Lamar Odom with Marcus Camby’s adroit defense— or you don’t see him, period. That’s understandable; after all, for all the legends he’s created in summer league and preseason play, he is still a benchwarmer for a team all too willing to give him up for the right price. But what does that do to a player? He’s heard all about his potential, but so far, he’s had very little to show. Two years of cuckoo-ball in Oakland, and a non-season in New York. Three years in the league, and he’s yet to exist in the present. Only in the future, or nowhere at all.
But hey, Randolph doesn’t have it so bad. In Portland, Jermaine O’Neal sat motionless in the same seat for four years. Maybe all the time spent not doing what you signed up to do changes you for the better. Maybe it forces you to make sense of yourself before you’re left behind for good.
Gastroenteritis means inflammation of the stomach and small and large intestines. Viral gastroenteritis is an infection caused by a variety of viruses that results in vomiting or diarrhea. It is often called the “stomach flu,” although it is not caused by the influenza viruses.
The affected person may also have headache, fever, and abdominal cramps (“stomach ache”). In general, the symptoms begin 1 to 2 days following infection with a virus that causes gastroenteritis and may last for 1 to 10 days, depending on which virus causes the illness.
You don’t know your limitations until you confront them face to face.
I didn’t have a chink in my iron gullet. I spent my days happily testing the bounds of my bottomless pit of a stomach. I was a monster. I was a beast. I was freakshow commissioned by my parents to entertain guests.
Watch our scrawny son eat! He eats so much, but he doesn’t grow!
And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love every second of it.
But illness has a way of pitting your greatest allies against you. I haven’t been able to piece together a cohesive eating pattern in a week. I haven’t been able to eat a regular meal in five days. As soon as food enters my system, an enormous bubble-wrapped void enters my stomach, forbidding anything else from encroaching on its newfound home. The pain was in knowing. Knowing I was starving, but unable to do anything about it. Granted, my bout with the stomach flu has been mild. Other than one day locked in the bathroom, the past few days have been spent idly battling (if you can call it that) an incorruptible bloating. My misfortunes may pale in comparison to much stronger strains of virus, but it hurts all the same, especially when it begins to wear away at your identity.
When food plays such a large role in shaping your social behavior and personal wellbeing, you start to wonder if it’s just a sickness, or if life as you know it is escaping your grasp. For a week —a duration longer than I’ve ever had to deal with— I’ve been unable to eat, and it’s the scariest thing I’ve ever dealt with. Maybe this is adulthood. My friends joke that this is time catching up with me, that this is the end of my tireless metabolism. And I start to believe them. Because at what point do I start blaming myself for this, and not my circumstance?
Because being a victim of circumstance only works for so long as an excuse, right?
Randolph has no identity, and unless he has a chance to determine himself what he is as a basketball player, he’ll remain stuck. For a player of Randolph’s talent level, that’s the worst case scenario.
Alas, therein lies the problem with Randolph. He’s clearly not ready for the big minutes, but there is absolutely no way he progresses without them. He makes egregious errors when he is forced to quantify and qualify his time, something that has been made all too clear in his 110 minutes with the Knicks and his beyond terrible 5.7 PER. If you give Randolph enough time to naturally read the flow of the game, he is capable of astounding things. But he can easily drag the team through Styx in the process. The Knicks are wise to want to find a suitor. The team, even if it’s only a middling playoff team in the East, has too much positive momentum to give Randolph any chance at destroying it. Randolph needs a team with the patience to watch him grow through trial and error, and a team with nothing to lose playing him for extended minutes.
And now more than ever, enter Portland. It makes me sick to say, but yet another crucial player has fallen to knee injury. Marcus Camby is confirmed to have surgery for a torn meniscus in the left knee. With Brandon Roy, Greg Oden, and now Camby out of the picture, trading for someone of Randolph’s ability should be a no-brainer. Market value has determined that a first round pick will win Randolph’s services, and Portland has definitely shown interest.
Looking at the Blazers’ diminished roster, one could easily hold out hope that Randolph could find sanctuary in Oregon. But that’s also what we said about Oakland and New York. Randolph hasn’t been able to fight into a stable frontcourt spot at any juncture in his career, and at this point, he needs confirmation that he’s going to play, above all. Have the Blazers nothing left to lose? It all depends on how much they want to cling to their futile 8th seed. But fostering young talent as a contingency plan might not be too far-fetched of an option with the way their curtain is closing.
Unfortunately, none of us know what Randolph would bring to Portland. It was easy to victimize him during his first two seasons due to the insanity that was the Warriors’ rotation. New York, on the other hand, has been an extreme disappointment, especially considering what a marvel an Amar’e Stoudemire/Randolph frontcourt could’ve been. He just hasn’t done much to earn his spot, especially with him jacking up long range two-pointers every chance he gets.
The only thing we seem to know about Randolph is what he could be. It’s the only thing folks write or talk about. It’s so inundated in our systems that enormous potential very well may be Randolph’s identity at this point. It’s a foundation made of popsicle sticks. It’s what makes his play so infuriating and inspiring, sometimes at once (though examples are few and far between this season). He still has time to salvage whatever it is he envisioned for himself, but we can only cling to potential for so long. Let’s just hope the toiling on the bench hasn’t already done him in.