Bender, Randle face long odds in bids to stick
Center Dragan Bender and guard Chasson Randle joined the Warriors with designs on parlaying 10day contracts into longterm NBA roles. But when the league suspended play March 11 to help curtail the spread of the coronavirus, the auditions for Bender and Randle were cut short.
With the Warriors not among the 22 teams planning to resume the season in Orlando, Bender and Randle must wait to hear whether they’ll be invited to Golden State’s summer minicamp in late July or early August. That would offer them another chance to show they deserve a shot at the 202021 roster.
Because before the NBA shutdown arrived, Bender and Randle probably didn’t do enough.
Bender, a 2016 topfive pick who tried to resuscitate his career with the Warriors after Phoenix didn’t resign him and Milwaukee waived him, is one of the more frustrating case studies for scouts: a 7footer with the dimensions and skills of an Allstar who struggles to make an imprint on games.
Though Bender has a textbook jump shot, he is a career 39.9% shooter (32.3% from 3point range). His size and agility suggest that he should be a versatile defender. But far too often, Bender looks overwhelmed against quicker wings or bigger centers.
These same issues plagued him with the Warriors, who brought him in to see whether he could be the floorspacing big man they needed. In nine games, Bender averaged 9 points on 43.7% shooting (32.4% from 3point range), 5.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.8 turnovers in 21.7 minutes.
The Warriors were intrigued enough to sign him to a second 10day contract March 5, but his ineffective stretches overshadowed any highlights he delivered. Bender simply isn’t as far along as he should be for someone who would be entering his fifth NBA season.
Unlike Bender, Randle didn’t get much opportunity to find a rhythm in the Warriors’ movementheavy system. Fresh off fleeing China when the coronavirus shut down the country’s top league, he appeared timid in limited minutes, unsure when to pass and when to shoot.
In his three games with Golden State, Randle missed all four of his shots. It didn’t help his cause that, at 62, 185 pounds, he often had a tough time staying in front of bigger guards.
Perhaps the biggest regret for Bender and Randle was that they didn’t get at least one more game to prove they belong at this level. For players on 10day contracts, one memorable performance can be the difference between a milliondollar NBA contract and a $35,000 deal in the G League.
Offseason outlook: To make next season’s roster, Bender and Randle would have to impress at minicamp before beating out several players under contract for next season — Juan Toscanoanderson, Ky Bowman and Mychal Mulder, among others — for a 15man spot. That seems highly unlikely.
At this point, the Warriors could be better off using their last couple of minicamp spots to get an extended look at other players. Gerald Green, Jordan Bell and Justin Anderson are among the intriguing free agents available.
Former Stanford guard Chasson Randle was playing in China before fleeing the coronavirus there. He appeared in three games with the Warriors, scoring five points — all on free throws.