This is the first installment of our player review series, where we look back at the individual performance of each Wizard this season. With so many players set to hit free agency this summer, we’ll also examine what kind of value they’ll have this summer. We’re kicking off our series with a look at Chasson Randle.
Positives this season
Backup point guard has been a weak spot for the Wizards in the John Wall era, particularly when Wall is out and Washington has to go deep into their reserves. This year, they went all the way down to the Go-Go to call up Randle after they traded Austin Rivers in mid-December. They signed him to an NBA contract on December 18 and he quickly proved he was a better fit than Rivers. He played in all but three games the rest of the way and started two games in February while Tomas Satoransky attended to the birth of his first child.
Randle provided stability the bench lacked prior to his arrival. He only committed 2.1 turnovers per 36 minutes and posted a .555 true shooting percentage. His low-usage style gave Jeff Green and later Jabari Parker more freedom to flourish. Not bad for a player who wasn’t even on the opening day roster.
Spots for improvement
Although Randle didn’t turn the ball over much, he didn’t set much up either. He only averaged 6.2 assists per 100 possessions, which was behind several players with unremarkable passing pedigrees like Zach LaVine, Frank Ntilikina, and Trey Burke.
He was fairly efficient as a scorer, but as his hex map shows, almost all of his positive shooting came on the wings. He was below average nearly everywhere else, especially in the paint.
Randle works best when there are other creators on the floor that can allow him to do more off the ball as a floor spacer. Thankfully for his sake, he could do that with Green and Parker last season. When he got to play with Beal, he functioned even better. The Wizards outscored opponents by 1.3 points per 100 possessions in the 300 minutes the two played together this season. Only two players that played at least 300 minutes with Beal had a better net rating this season.
It would be unfair to write off Randle defensively because there were so many extenuating circumstances this season, but he didn’t do much to distinguish himself on that end. He doesn’t generate many steals or blocks. He doesn’t have the size or strength to guard multiple positions and he wasn’t all that good against opposing point guards. In the right system, he can perhaps avoid being a weak link, but it’s hard to see him being a plus defender in any situation.
Given the context of how he arrived and the value he provided in a tough situation, it’s hard to be critical, but it’s also important to have the right perspective on how he could fit in a more competitive situation.
Consider some of Randle’s big picture numbers. Randle’s VORP (Value Over Replacement Player) was -0.4, which meant he rated slightly below replacement-level last season. He ranked 74th out of 102 point guards this season in ESPN’s Real Plus/Minus, so if you evenly distributed point guards around all 30 teams, he’d be a third-stringer. To be fair, he finished 59th in offensive real plus/minus, and perhaps his defensive numbers would have been better on a team with more defensive ability.
If he was younger, you could live with him straddling the line between being above or below replacement level, but he turns 27 next season. If he’s playing for the Wizards or any other NBA team next season, odds are he’s functioning as a stop-gap until the team can draft or develop another player to take his place. A one-year, minimum deal is perfectly appropriate, but offering anything more would probably be too much of a cost from a financial perspective and the opportunity to bring in someone who could provide more long-term value.