OAKLAND — After the Warriors' season ended, rookie forward Anthony Randolph went home to Dallas to take some time off. He was determined to relax for a while. That is, until he made a mistake.
He attended a playoff game, a first-round matchup between the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs.
"It (ticked) me off," Randolph said. "The atmosphere, I want to play in that bad. I want to get there."
His break lasted a week and a half, and he hated it. Driven by a desire to experience the postseason as a player, Randolph began working out furiously and hasn't stopped since.
Remember some seven months ago, when Randolph was drawing the ire of coach Don Nelson for his poor attitude and work ethic? That dude is long gone. Randolph — who embodies much of the franchise's hopes — has bought in to the adage that great players are made in the offseason.
"The good ones, that's how they become really, really good," Warriors assistant coach Keith Smart said. "They put aside everything else that is going on in their lives and focus on basketball and how they can develop. ... This is the time when you start to prepare to do even better than what you did last year, and he's doing that."
Randolph started doing cardio work and practicing his shooting while in Dallas with a goal of improving his midrange jumper. He's been in Oakland for about three weeks now, practically living at the Warriors facility. He works out three times a day — morning, afternoon and evening — part of which he does solo.
In addition to his jumper, Randolph is working to get stronger, develop his footwork and improve his efficiency.
He often works out with his shirt off now, showing off his defined torso. The Warriors have focused on developing his core strength and not bulking him up. Still, Randolph, who has grown an inch and is just shy of 7 feet, has added some 20 pounds of muscle since the Warriors drafted him and is now up to about 215. He can curl 100-pound dumbbells several times, no problem.
Randolph said he already sees improvement in his jumper. Smart said Randolph also is making progress with his fundamentals and the cerebral elements of the game. He's been working the last couple of weeks on getting to the basket in one dribble.
"I'm learning when and where to do things," Randolph said, "and how to put the ball on the floor as little as possible to get where I need to go."
Fellow rookie Anthony Morrow came to Oakland about a week after Randolph, and the two have been regulars at the Warriors practice facility since. Randolph said the presence of Morrow has been a boost, allowing him to practice some of the things he's worked on in heated one-on-one battles.
Even Morrow, known for being a maniacal worker, is impressed with Randolph's grind.
Thursday, as soon as the Warriors predraft workouts ended, Randolph took to the floor to do some basketball work. He concluded a nearly two-hour workout with a finishing drill over a dummy under the watchful eye of Smart.
After chatting a bit, he dipped into the locker room area to put on some street clothes. When he came back out, he informed Morrow about an open gym at Saint Mary's College in a couple of hours. Both decided they were going to go play.
"If you're coming with me," Randolph said, "you gotta come now because I have to go work out real quick."
Morrow shook his head in amazement as Randolph hurried out the door. Randolph was in such a hurry to get to his next workout that Morrow had to ride to Moraga with Warriors forward Jermareo Davidson.
"He understands how to work now," Morrow said. "I think it was just the way he was approaching it (early last season). He was young, and a lot of young guys don't understand how to work hard. He picked it up quick. Once he learned how to work, he started getting more comfortable because he started seeing his hard work paying off."
To be sure, this machine-like Randolph didn't just appear this offseason. Those close to Randolph said it's been in the making for some time. It seems Nelson's benching of Randolph earlier in the season did the trick.
"He changed his mind-set," Warriors strength and conditioning coach John Murray said. "For the first time in his life, he wasn't playing. And he was sitting because he wasn't good enough. That's humbling. ...
"His biggest progress is mentally, his commitment to getting better, his work ethic. He doesn't get down on himself early. He sees the bigger picture."
Contact Marcus Thompson II at firstname.lastname@example.org.