NBA: Randolph/Crawford/Harrington Impact
By: Steven Jones
All available evidence says that Zach Randolph
will immediately make an impact at the power forward spot in Los
Angeles. He's been putting up 20.5 points and a career-best 12.5
rebounds per game this season, though playing for the newly running,
gunning Knicks may have inflated those stats slightly. He should also see a slight
decrease in his rebounds with Chris Kaman flanking him, but it's not
unreasonable to expect an 18-10 out of Z-Bo in Clipperland. Anyone
thinking, "Wait a second – how's he going to get the ball playing
alongside Baron Davis?" should remember that Zach put up almost exactly
an 18-10 line with Stephon Marbury as his point guard for much of last season. He's always found ways to get his points.
Randolph should be the only player from this trade worth discussing for fantasy owners. Mardy Collins would have a hard time breaking into LA's crowded backcourt rotation even if he were averaging more than 2 points and 2 assists per game. On the other end, Tim Thomas and Cuttino Mobley haven't been effective fantasy producers in years and weren't playing well this season.
Jamal Crawford was probably New York's second-most effective player this season, averaging 19.6 points, 4.4 assists, and 3.2 threes in the first 11 games. His inability to rebound (1.6 per game this season, 2.7 for his career) is a little puzzling considering he's an athletic 6-5 guard, but he's done enough things right over the past three seasons that he can get the benefit of the doubt for now.
He might have a problem, though, as he's joining a Warriors team that already has five players averaging over 15 points, four of whom play the same positions as Crawford. Jamal has certainly shown a knack for putting up stats while fighting other players for shots over the past few seasons in New York, but to assume he'll keep on scoring 20 a night when it's unclear how Don Nelson will use him is shortsighted. Crawford's owners, and any with an interest in acquiring him, should give it a few games before deciding on his new value.
Al Harrington, who'll possibly replace Randolph in the Knicks' starting lineup, might be a good fit for Coach Mike D'Antoni. He's a multidimensional big man who can operate out on the floor, and D'Antoni might use his ballhandling skills to create matchup problems. At the very least, Harrington should have the same green light to launch threes that he had on the infrequent occasions that he played big minutes in Oakland – he put up 5.0 attempts per game last season and was at 5.6 per in the only five contests he'd appeared in this season. He can probably put up 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 threes per game without breaking a sweat in New York. The "without breaking a sweat" part of the equation, though, might not sit well with D'Antoni. He'll have opportunities, but has had them throughout his career and never taken full advantage.