Coach: Randolph is right fit for Lokomotiv Kuban

Lokomotiv Kuban’s decision to sign six-year NBA veteran Anthony Randloph did take some time, but his new coach feels the 25-year-old could be the right fit in the paint if he adapts properly.

“Sometimes, recruitment decisions take a while until we reach a consensus. That was the case with our latest signing,” the Krasnodar-based outfit’s head coach Sergei Bazarevich told the club’s website, referring to Randolph.

According to Bazarevich, the decisions on other new signings–Bayern Munich combo guard Malcolm Delaney, Triumf Lyubertsy shooting guard Yevgeny Voronov and UNICS Kazan forward Nikita Kurbanov–were made quickly.

“We were sure we needed to fight for Delaney and the battle in the transfer market was indeed very serious. He was ‘hot’ and everybody wanted him. Regarding Kurbanov there were no doubts either. The effort to sign Voronov had been under way before I took over, but I fully backed that decision since I know very well what he can contribute to the squad,” Bazarevich said. “But our search for the last piece of the puzzle was slower. We all agreed we needed a big man whose playing style would be unlike [American forward/center Richard] Hendrix’s. We needed a new guy who would be able to stretch the opponent’s defense, to have a steady midrange shot and to move well on the perimeter. We considered a lot of options and decided that we couldn’t pass up on Randolph.”

According to Bazarevich, the major risk in the process of integrating the 6-11 Randolph into the team will be his ability to adapt to new environment.”He was the 14th pick in the NBA draft, U.S. media paid a great deal of attention to him and he’s coming with that kind of background into a country he’s never been to, needing to adapt to a new brand of basketball,” Bazarevich said, adding that he’d had a similar experience last season in Samara with U.S. forward Julian Wright, a former Jayhawk picked 13th overall in the 2007 NBA draft.

In 2013-14, Bazarevich coached Samara’s Krasnye Krylya and helped smoothly integrate Wright, whom he called “a great student and a fast learner,” into a squad that ultimately clinched VTB United League quarterfinals.

“We will be rewarded if Randolph fully realizes his talent which is enormous,” Bazarevich said. “If he turns out to be the kind of player we think he is, he will help us create mismatches on offense. Traditional centers won’t be able to defend him. Of course, we live in reality that will always feature competitors that have incomparably bigger financial resources than us, but we can beat them by using ploys such as [playing] Randolph.”

The Worzbach, Germany, native played 43 games for the Denver Nuggets last season, averaging 4.8 points and 2.8 rebounds per game.

In 2013-14, Lokomotiv Kuban clinched Top 16 in Euroleague and had its VTB United League hopes crushed after dropping a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five quarterfinal series against perennial champs CSKA Moscow. The club then parted ways with head coach Yevgeny Pashutin and signed Bazarevich to a three-year contract in June.