As many BSB readers already know, the Grizzlies will represented at the All-Star game by Zach Randolph, who earned his second career selection this year. While I personally think Marc Gasol should have been picked as well, it’s certainly great to see a Memphis player make the big game for the second straight year.
But what can we expect Z-Bo to do in Houston on Sunday? Well, I doubt he’ll be in the running for MVP, since he won’t be starting, and flashier players like Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin will be making the mind-boggling plays that make Sports Center. Still, I have to think he’ll be more than an afterthought.
In his 2010 appearance in the all-star game, Z-Bo played 19 minutes, and in that time, he managed to record 8 points and 6 rebounds, while shooting 4 of 10 from the field. So, he wasn’t a star of the game, but he wasn’t chopped liver either. I have to think his performance on Sunday will be in a similar vein.
The think about Zach Randolph is that he’s not one for epic dunks, or half-court shots. He’s just a solid, reliable player who is an absolute monster in the post, and helps his team by being a solid mid-range shooter. That’s all well and good, but it’s not the sort of thing that translates to all-star heroism.
My guess is, Z-Bo will become something of a secret weapon for the West. The game can’t just be LeBron and Durant exchanging dunks for 48 minutes. Amid all the flash and hype, there has to be something resembling an actual basketball game. Those moments are where I expect Z-Bo to thrive.
When the game is said done, don’t be surprised if Z-Bo plows his way past a weak defender for an easy layup (my guess is it’ll be either Chris Bosh or Brook Lopez), and over the course of the game, he hits a few jumpers that don’t make the highlight reel, but contribute to the final score just as much. Z-Bo won’t be the flashiest player on the court Sunday, but his performance will likely be a reminder of all the great things he brings to the Grizzlies.