Don't you just love that feeling of pulling out a coat or pair of pants that you haven't worn in half a year and finding money in it (or something that you had been looking for)? It is unexpected and a minor thrill.
That's a bit like how I feel about Shavlik Randolph. I had zero expectations of him. None. Zippy.
So basically it wasn't hard for him to exceed my expectations. Now, all of a sudden, I'm penciling him into the rotation for next year. How did this happen? In a word, rebounds.
Randolph carved out a regular-season spot by grabbing 26.3 percent of all available defensive rebounds during his time on the floor (and 22.4 percent of all caroms overall).
Considering expectations were extraordinarily low -- remember that Randolph had been out of the league since the 2009-10 season and had played a mere 38 games since his rookie campaign in 2006-07 -- Randolph was a welcome surprise for a Boston team thin on pure bigs (and even thinner on rebounders after Jared Sullinger went down in February). Can Randolph sustain his crazy rebounding numbers over a full 82-game season? That remains to be seen. But he was an efficient scorer (devouring putbacks, which accounted for nearly a quarter of his total offensive possessions) with a defined skill set that coach Doc Rivers could lean on at times.
Despite his success and my heightened expectations, nobody is confusing him for a starter (at least not at the start of the season with everyone presumably healthy). Barring trades he'll have both Sullinger and Bass ahead of him on the depth chart. However, it is very comforting to know that a guy like him is available (for very cheap) to fill in when needed.
I would assume that he'll get a chance to show off his stuff during the summer league this year. Maybe he can show enough to push for even more playing time. Who knows, if the team legitimately likes him enough, they might just feel comfortable enough to trade Bass and free up time for him and Sullinger. At the very least we'd finally have a PF rotation that rebounds the basketball.