Of all the WTF-inducing headlines I expected to see coming from Golden State Warriors camp this season, “Anthony Randolph is on the trading block” definitely wasn’t one of them.
Not to say I straight-up inhaled the Kool-Aid being served around the Bay Area over the summer, but I could originally see why a lot of people would think Randolph is the future of the franchise. He was a monster in the Vegas Summer League, had some standout preseason games, and as the regular season approached, I finally bought in and likened Randolph’s game to a young Kevin Garnett. And now, not even two whole months into the schedule, the fact that Randolph is even being mentioned in trade rumors — even if they are rumors — and there isn’t an A-List superstar on the other end of the deal is even crazy for the Warriors.
Every franchise … well, almost every franchise … has that young cat who could be The Future. Either the owners believe it, the coach believes, his teammates believe, or maybe it’s only the fans. Maybe it’s all of the above. But somebody associated with the organization sees the potential and figures if the kid keeps developing, he’ll go from role player to star soon enough.
I was a little bit too young in my basketball knowledge to see precisely when it was happening with Shawn Kemp in Seattle. I do remember Xavier McDaniel being The Present at power forward for the Sonics, not to mention a comic book-like badass superhero to me. And I remember Kemp coming in as a high-risk high school draft pick, mid-first round, playing the same position as the X-Man. And apparently it didn’t take long for people to realize Kemp would be The Man sooner or later. Had the team turned around and traded Kemp before he got his chance to really shine, there would have been a fan mutiny. (Note: In 2002, Seattle saw Rashard Lewis and Desmond Mason as The Future. So when Mason was included in the Gary Payton-for-Ray Allen trade, it did NOT go over well. Shows how much we know…)
Looking around the League, there are a lot of Anthony Randolphs. Some are easy to point out, like Rajon Rondo in Boston, Rodney Stuckey in Detroit, Blake Griffin in L.A. and Andrew Bynum in L.A. Others are not so easy to identify: Danilo Gallinari in New York, Marreese Speights in Philly, and whichever one of Washington’s young guns (Nick Young, Andray Blatche, JaVale McGee) is looking up to the task that particular day. Some don’t even have a veteran star in their way and have already assumed the top job, like Brandon Jennings in Milwaukee and Derrick Rose in Chicago.
Who is The Future of your favorite team? What would it take in return for you to consider trading him?