Looming Large: Zach Randolph

Like his team, power forward Zach Randolph has been somewhat disappointing, especially when taking his enormous contract into account, but despite the criticism he has received this year, Randolph has played at a fairly high level for the Knicks.

Despite having one of the NBA's largest payrolls, the New York Knicks have a roster filled of "me first" players who lack consistency, so it's not a surprise that New York is a dismal 18-39 on the season.

While Randolph is averaging a respectable 17 points per game, it is the lowest scoring average since 2003 when he has in Portland. Randolph is also grabbing nearly 10 rebounds per game. 17 points and 10 boards a game is usually considered near All-Star like numbers, but because of his bloated salary and lack of leadership abilities, Randolph hasn't earned much respect in New York this season.

Randolph has been criticized for his lack of effort several times this season. At 6'9, 260 lbs, Randolph isn't necessarily physically intimidating and has a hard time matching up against taller defenders, but he still should play better defense than he shows on a nightly basis. On the season, Randolph is averaging a lowly 0.2 block per game. Inconsistency has also plagued Randolph this year, as he's gone 2-of-13 shooting on some nights and but has scored over 20-points on 23 occasions this season.

Where Randolph does earn his money is in the post on offense. Although he can disappear at times, Randolph is usually a difficult assignment for most players. He isn't the tallest player, but he has a wide body that he'll use to back down defenders down low. Randolph displays nice touch around the rim and he's a lefty, which causes difficulties for opponents. He's also capable of spotting up from as far as the 3-point line.

Along with a good low-post game, Randolph has also established himself as a solid rebounder in the NBA, especially on the offensive end, where he pulls down an impressive 2.5 offensive boards per game.

Randolph has been much maligned for his inability to lead a team, which has shown this season with the Knicks, who are desperately seeking a leader. Randolph is considered a very good compliment player, but his inconsistency and lack of a constant effort have prevented him from taking his game to the next level.

While Randolph hasn't been the star that the Knicks envisioned when they traded for him this offseason, Randolph is still a very good player who can take over a game on any given night. The Magic will host Randolph and the Knicks on Saturday night, and they are fully aware of the power and talent Randolph has. Earlier this season, Randolph went for 22 and 11 against Orlando, and he has also burnt Orlando in previous seasons, as he averaged 28 games against Orlando in his 2006-2007 campaign. The Magic may have a hard time slowing down Randolph on Saturday as well. Dwight Howard likely won't guard him because Orlando doesn't want him to get in foul trouble, which Randolph can easily cause. That means that Rashard Lewis, who weighs 30 lbs less than Randolph must have the responsibility of guarding the powerful bruiser. That will create a mismatch on the offensive end for both teams.