For all the deserved talk about a player's skills and athleticism, success in the NBA often comes down to fit and luck. An individual can't perform at his best unless a team gives him room to grow into a role.
Forward Anthony Randolph is a weird player, but also one who's never really gotten an extended chance to prove himself with a single franchise. In four seasons with the Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks, and Minnesota Timberwolves, Randolph has shown flashes of great ability as a shot-blocker, passer, and scorer. Unfortunately, he's almost own versatile for his own good, and no one really seems willing to let his raw talent develop organically. In a way, he's a less talented version of the young Lamar Odom, and it took many years for Odom to find a fit with the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers.
Now, another team will attempt to turn Randolph into a consistently productive member of an NBA rotation. As reported by Yahoo!'s own Marc Spears, Randolph has signed with the Denver Nuggets for $6 million over three seasons.
The simple opinion here is pretty obvious: the Nuggets are getting a player with a ton of potential for a relatively small amount of money. In limited minutes, Randolph has never finished a season with a PER below 16.2, which suggests that he is at least worthy of more playing time. For that matter, head coach George Karl and the Nuggets have shown the willingness to experiment with lineups in the past. Though they have a good deal of young big men in need of playing time — to name three: JaVale McGee, Kenneth Faried, and Timofey Mozgov — Randolph has enough skills to find a place in their plans.
The exact form of that spot is still uncertain. After four seasons in the NBA, most young players have a sense of who they are. Randolph, however, can't seem to figure that out, both because of his own issues and his teams' lack of patience. In many ways, the Nuggets have to treat him like a rookie, giving him space to figure out exactly what kind of player he is and work with him to develop the necessary skills.
That's an odd situation for a fifth-year pro, but not a particularly weird one for a just-turned-23-year-old making $2 million per season. All Randolph and the Nuggets have to do is adjust their expectations for where Randolph should be at this point in his career.