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just a random thought I forgot to post right after the get together. one of the things I really enjoy about going to games is looking at how guys get ready before the game.

I don't see enough games to know if it was just a fluke, but it was nice to see Zach out there shooting jumpers before anyone was out on the court. he was also the last guy to finish shooting. you just get the impression from him that he's a 100% effort kind of guy every time you see him.

however, the first seven shots I saw him take in warmups he missed. the way he was gunning earlier this year, I never thought I'd see him do that in a warmup.

there are the usual suspects in pointing to his shooting slump: more focus by defenses, the "rookie wall", Sheed's missed games.

but I wonder if a lot of his slump is just plain psychological. he's not just short-rimming his shots, which would indicate exhaustion. he's missing put-backs and even his patented high arching 5 footer all over the place. a lot of the time he's missing the same shots that were gimmes two months ago.

I looked it up, and his slump started with two horrible shooting performances against the Nets and the Pistons. both teams feature quick, strong, athletic post defenders that really bother him.

I particularly remember Ben Wallace completely demoralizing Zach. he got to the point where he no longer even put up shots in the fourth quarter for fear of getting blocked, which is something I'd never seen before. he actually looked scared of Big Ben.

those games started a horrid 12 game slump, where he shot an overall 39%, and over 50% just twice. while that may be just another day at the office for Stoudamire, it was a huge dump from his 53% shooting before the slump.

(incidentally, for those who argue that Bonzi's departure has lead to our spiral, we lost all but three of those games during his slump.)

these last two games have been his first back-to-back nights of shooting over 50% since the slump began. hopefully, it's a sign of good things to come, but it was after all against the Wizards and Warriors.

he's only 22, so you can't expect everything. he's already a role model for all us pudgy, flat-footed, hard working power forwards in pickup games across the country.

but on a team of fragile egos, I've looked at Zach for more. he's been a beacon of hope for the future of the franchise, not just for his scoring, rebounding and work ethic, but for his fearlessness and consistency. the spiral his shooting has suffered in these last twelve games makes me question whether I've finally done the seemingly impossible. I've overestimated Randolph's potential.
 

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I still think we need to give him a chance. He's only 22 and has just begun getting serious time this year. He's never played this many games in a single season, not in high school, not in college, not ever. His shot will come back and I'll more than bet on him developing some D. He has the heart of a champion in there somewhere and he'll keep working until he's the best PF in Blazer history.
 

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he'll be fine. like you said, he had been missing the gimmes. it's partially psychological and he'll get over it. also, more than anything you should see a huge improvement after each summer for the next few years.
 

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He has a nice little jumper and he works so hard on his offense that I really don't concern myself with that. I hope he's putting in some extra time on his defense.
 
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