Earlier this week, news surfaced that the Washington Wizards invited Earl Barron and Shavlik Randolph to training camp. In what is sure to be an offensively challenged competition, the two veteran big men will be vying for a spot (along with Steven Gray) on the final roster. With the help of MySynergy Sports, let's take a look at what these two journeymen bring to the table and who has a better chance of impressing the coaches.
Earl Barron’s best trait is his offensive rebounding ability. During his career he’s been an above average offensive rebounder for a power forward, and in limited time over the past three seasons, Barron’s offensive rebounding rate of 13.3 would put him among the top ten at his position.
However, when you take a deeper look at those rebounds, a large percentage of them are attempted tip-ins. His Moses Malone impression wouldn’t be so bad if he could actually make these tip-ins, but he almost never does. Barron has averaged a dismal 0.65 points per put-back possession over the past three seasons. It’s usually hard to find a big man that bad on offensive rebound possessions.
Barron’s teams would be much better served if he simply tipped the ball backwards when he can’t secure the rebound. Despite this, one could imagine that if he gets on a roll and finally knocks in a tip-in or two in camp, coaches could be impressed by his energy level and willingness to mix it up on the boards.
Defensively, Barron really struggled in isolation, allowing 1.15 points per isolation possession over the past three seasons. Barron’s lack of footspeed was showcased when he got switched onto wing players in isolation situations. As you can see, these players had an easy time scoring against him.
And that lack of quickness also came into play when big men took him out on the perimeter. Barron gave players a little too much room to shoot because he feared the drive.
On offense, Shavlik Randolph has rarely shot from outside, with a Vesely-like eight perimeter jumpers over five NBA seasons. It’s good that he isn’t taking inefficient shots, but he has a real problem finishing the efficient ones. During his limited time on the court in Miami, Randolph was blocked at the rim numerous times. On offense, it looks like he’s out of his league when he gets the ball underneath.
It should be noted that although Randolph isn’t much of a threat with the ball, his offensive rebounding rate is even higher than Barron’s.
Defensively, Randolph has shown willingness to get out to the perimeter and move his feet against a pick-and-roll ball handler. That willingness, successful or not, could be a key to getting a spot on the roster.
As a former Duke Blue Devil, Randolph is also adept at taking charges (big surprise). When he’s received extended minutes, Randolph has taken charges at a much higher rate than your average power forward.
Despite his fondness for taking charges, Randolph has also blocked shots at a higher rate than Barron over his career. This speaks more as a negative towards Barron than a positive towards Randolph. While both players don’t block many shots, at least Randolph protects the rim from underneath the basket.
Based on his defensive abilities and end-of-the-bench hustleyness, Shavlik Randolph seems likely to beat out Earl Barron for a spot on the roster. At seven feet tall, coaches may be swayed by Barron's size advantage, but we are way past the point of "seven-footer with potential" stage of Barron's career. Of course this could all be moot because the Wizards' front court is almost overstocked and Steven Gray brings the shooting ability that everyone has been clamoring for.
Who do you think the Wizards should add to the roster? Do they need anther replacement level big man or should they take a chance on the shooter, Steven Gray? Can anyone give Earl Barron some pointers on making tip-ins?