The current era of basketball, at least from 2009 until now, can be considered a golden age for players at the point guard position. Almost half of the league currently has a former All Star point guard playing significant minutes on its roster. The decade before however should be recognized as the era of the power forward. The league was loaded at the 4 position, and many of those forwards were influential in how the players at that size play on both ends. In the upcoming month we will highlight a different former All Star 4 man on the fourth day of the week in a series titled “Flashing Back Forward.”
2-time All Star, Most Improved Player in ’03-’04
Although Zach Randolph was a bit vertically challenged, he still was one of the greatest bucket getters at his position night to night. His face up game consisting of jab steps and up fakes was truly lethal because of his ability to shoot the jumper. So many more of his buckets came from his offensive rebounds: his sticky hands and quickness allowed him to get the ball back up into the basket before taller defenders could block his shot. A smart player who was considered a black hole early in his career, Randolph became a cult hero in the post 00s. And though he didn’t reach team success until the next decade, ZBO put up great numbers (averaging 18 points & 10 rebounds 6 times) in the 2000s going from the Jail Blazers to the Sterling Clippers to Isiah’s Knicks. His best year statistically of that era? 23.6 ppg and 10.1 in 2007. Never scared of anyone, he was the best visual representation we’ve ever had of a ninja turtle. You can’t talk about power forwards in that decade without mentioning Randolph. He is a perfect representation of how deep the position was, seeing that he never made an All Star team until 2010. He is a true testament to growth and development.