Zach Randolph: To Stay Or To Go

Apr 5, 2017; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (50) reacts during the second half against the Oklahoma City Thunder at FedExForum. Oklahoma City Thunder defeats the Memphis Grizzlies 103-100. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 5, 2017; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (50) reacts during the second half against the Oklahoma City Thunder at FedExForum. Oklahoma City Thunder defeats the Memphis Grizzlies 103-100. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports /

In our next edition of “To Stay Or To Go,” we will be addressing the possible future of power forward and set-shot expert, Zach Randolph.

So, let us get one thing out of the way: EVERYONE (not everyone) LOVES ZACH RANDOLPH.

His personality blends with the Memphis culture like a smoothie. He’s the apple to the banana, whey protein and ice. Without him, the Memphis Grizzlies are nothing near the team they are today. The defense-first mentality may have started with Tony Allen, but no other player has bought into this system much like Randolph. For years, he has been the bruiser in the paint, fighting for boards, throwing casual elbows, and upholding the reputation of the “Bash Brothers.” With that being said, winning championships and sentimentality don’t go hand in hand.

The Grizzlies have made the playoffs seven straight years, but their playoff hopes become murkier and murkier every year. Because of the Grizzlies’ excellent start to this season, they eclipsed the 40-win mark with ease, nearly cementing a playoff spot in early 2017 within an extremely top heavy Western Conference. While that may be nice, don’t forget that a few teams put quite a scare into the fan base of the Grizzlies. With multiple teams on the come-up and the Grizzlies’ late-season spiral, it’s almost certain something needs to be done. Granted, the “Chandler Parsons Project” has yet to take off, but it’s arguable that the Grizzlies have one more season before sentimentality (and the “Grit ‘n’ Grind” era) become prehistoric.


Bringing us to Zach Randolph.

I bought his jersey, wear it with pride, and recollect about “Z-Bo’s Deep Fried Thoughts” regularly. If I could, I would sign Randolph to a contract just to hang out with him, but seeing that’s not the case. I need to be all “analytic” about it and tell you why Randolph is fading out of the league quicker than Ned Stark faded out of Game Of Thrones. (Get at me, I’m almost done with the second book.) Sad, but true.

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Randolph’s efficiency on offense is a great piece to have, if you don’t need to rely on that player to carry a team. When Randolph is the 4-5-6 combination of punches, HE NEEDS the 1-2-3 punches to land. My boxing knowledge is garbage, but hopefully you get the point.

Using Randolph as a sixth man played to his strengths. Unfortunately, when the Grizzlies looked to him to get the ball rolling, he can only really get HIS ball rolling. His style of play is selfish, but not in the narcissistic way you might think. He exposes his matchup with quick jab steps before pulling up for a shot. If he’s hitting, FANTASTIC! That’s 15 points from Randolph alone. The problem is that it also negates the effect of team basketball. All in all, he’s still producing, but it looks like his role needs to be considered that of a role player with defensive liabilities.


I’m not going to indulge in addressing his defense. Defense usually gets worse with age, and now that Randolph is 35, no one will be expecting him to block shots or take charges. When looking at the future of Z-Bo, we need to make sure that he won’t cause more trouble to Memphis than he already brings. Luckily, coming off the bench allows him to work in spurts, rather than exerting most his energy doing things he’s not suited for. As long as Randolph can continue down the role player path, there’s no reason to get rid of Randolph.

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Final Verdict

Zach Randolph gets two thumbs up. Not because I support the direction of where the team is headed, but because I think if Z-Bo leaves, the dynamic of the team slowly starts to disintegrate. The Grizzlies have team chemistry. Something that other teams require to be contenders. Removing a “pillar” of that team has consequences.

I’m not saying Zach Randolph is the savior of this franchise, but because this team is one season away from being forced into a rebuild, I think removing one of the most beloved players in Grizzlies history will only have negative effects. Mainly on ticket and merchandise sales.

Next year, the Grizzlies will likely start and rotate the same players they did this previous season. By assuming that, getting rid of Randolph only passes the torch down to Deyonta Davis, Jarell Martin, or Brandan Wright. All these players have yet to prove themselves in a Grizzly uniform.

Randolph’s style of play is fading, that much is true, but his personality is what sets him apart from the rest. By all means, don’t let sentimentality get in the way of what makes you a winning team. BUT, seeing where things are headed next year, there’s no reason to get rid of a player that helped you get there in the first place. Wait for a rebuild, because it seems that most fans aren’t ready to give up on this team just yet. Mainly because guys like Randolph have given them reason for hope.