While Portland opted to pass on Livingston, they did invite former Philadelphia 76ers postplayer and free agent Shavlik Randolph to camp to battle for the final roster spot.
And since the only thing I know about Randolph – who is listed at 6-10 and 240 pounds – is he’s injury prone (broken ankle) having only played 79 games in three years since leaving Duke, I figured I’d hit up a few guys who could give me the low-down.
Enter Marc Narducci, Phil Jasner and Librado Wright.
Narducci has been at the Philadelphia Inquirer for now 25 years and has done it all as a sports reporter, including working the Sixers beat last season. He now works as an assigning editor and columnist for the Inquirer covering New Jersey high schools, as well as contributing to HoopsHype.com and knocking out the Atlantic Division preview for the Sporting News.
His take on Randolph: Shavlik is an “energy player” who puts “the team first”….
He kept saying that he was fine physically last year but that all he needed was game action to get the rust off. I’m not sure about that because it was a really difficult injury, but I know that if he makes the team, the Blazers players couldn’t have a better teammate.
He is somebody who is an energy player, not the most skilled, but he is relentless in going after rebounds and never stops hustling. What was impressive about him is that he rarely played last season but he’d be there hours before each game working on something.
Sometimes he would work up such a sweat that you would have thought he had played in an NBA game. And he was always cheering for his teammates. Seeing limited playing time was frustrating for him as if would be for anybody but he always put the team first.
And I think this year in which he will be two years removed from the injury, that he will be much better physically. I think he’s the perfect end of the bench guy who will make others work hard in practice, and will do anything for the betterment of the team.
Jasner is an icon in Philly, having been on the beat for the Philadelphia Daily News since 1981 (not to mention being at the paper since ’72). According to Jasner, Randolph has been putting in work this summer, but there is still some concern over Randolph’s ankle….
He worked on his game in North Carolina during the summer.
He thought he was ready to play toward the end of last season, but the coaches didn’t feel he had the same explosiveness after his fractured and dislocated ankle. Before the injury, he had been making real progress.
Wright enters his fourth season covering Philadelphia for HOOPSWORLD and has a similar outlook to Narducci’s on Randolph’s situation….
Randolph’s a good guy in the locker room and every one of his teammates loved him.
He’s a hard worker at practice and if it wasn’t for his injury he would definitely have played some big minutes for Maurice Cheeks. Randolph since being drafted has worked his way from being the last man on the roster to significant playing time in his rookie season. With Elton Brand and Theo Ratliff being signed this summer, this left Randolph looking in from the outside.
But the Blazers are getting a solid player that should help Greg Oden get better as a player.
This much we know coming out of Philly: Shavlik is coming to work and work diligently. Sure Randolph has been bitten by the injury bug but you have to give it to him for battling back. Apparently when he suffered his broken ankle during a Sixers’ November practice in 2006, it was straight gnarly. And after appearing only in nine games last season, you can only hope Randolph’s days on the IR list are a thing of a past.
Hopefully he can punch the clock in Portland, even if it as the 15th man on the roster.