The NBA’s Surprise Beasts

03.11.09 10 years ago 46 Comments

In the third quarter of a Clippers game I was watching a couple weeks ago, Zach Randolph stepped to the free throw line and notched his 20th and 21st points of the night. After one L.A. announcer noted that Z-Bo had cracked the 20-point plateau again, the other was shocked.

“How did that happen?” he said. “I was sitting here watching the game with you; when did he get 20 points?” And this was coming from a man who’s watched Zach play every night for the past four months.

Chalk it up to the lack of athleticism, sometimes-indefensible shot selection, the fact that he doesn’t have the height to make up for that lack of athleticism, and/or the rep for being a terrible team player, but Zach has always been one of those guys who inexplicably produces more than his talent seems to warrant. Even when you watch him play an entire game, at the end you still check the box score and wonder, “How did he end up with 28 points and 12 boards?”

Call him one of the NBA’s undercover beasts. And if Zach isn’t No. 1 on that list, he’s a close No. 2 behind Kevin Martin.

The over-used buzzword with K-Mart’s game has always been “efficient,” but “deceptive” should be there as well. Even when you watch Martin closely over the course of a game, his stat line at the end of the night can still surprise you. As Dime’s Andrew Katz wrote in his feature on K-Mart in Dime #47: “His body almost begs for a defense’s disrespect … There’s nothing that anyone could tell him about his quirky form, his wiry frame, or his bony legs that he hasn’t already heard.”

Whether it’s Z-Bo, K-Mart, Troy Murphy, Emeka Okafor, David West or somebody else, who ranks among the League’s undercover beasts?

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