High-Risk, High-Ceiling? Or Middle-Risk, Solid Roleplayer Potential?

There's a featured poll over on the right sidebar. Yes, I just now figured out how to create one of those, two full months after 2.0 went live and four months after I started playing with the Beta version. I'm a slow learner.

The question deserves some discourse, especially since we're arguing debating Anthony Randolph and Darrell Arthur.

Randolph could be a better Shawn Marion, or he could be a worse Robert Swift. Arthur could be Shareef Abdur-Rahim, or he could be Kenny Thomas. With Randolph, the poles of worst-case and best-case are far -- very, very far. There's a significant risk of getting absolutely nothing out of him. But if he figures it out, if it all comes together with the spirit of Reggie Theus and Kevin Martin and Francisco Garcia busting his ass every day ... it could be glorious. Multiple-time All-Star glorious.

With Arthur (in my opinion), there's a chance he could be an All-Star snub some day. There's a chance, too, he could end up like a Darius Songaila. The best guess, for me, would be a better Nick Collison: just a solid, solid player who helps you win games. The risk is lower, the ceiling is lower.

You can approach the question two ways: how close to do you feel this team is to meaningful contention? How do you think championships are won?

On the first, I think we'd all agree this team is not really that close. If it were, opting for something like a "sure thing" would take greater urgency -- at the top levels, you can't afford to blow cheap roster spots on ineffectual players. And, if you're that close, the marginal benefit of another STAR is minimized. (In other words: Michael Redd means more to the Bucks than he would to the Lakers.)

The second question's where we'll split. Do you need super-duper stars to win a title? Recent evidence would imply an affirmative. Assuming Kevin Martin becomes a super-duper star (possible, though only we may believe it), you need at least another ... and probably two more. If Darrell Arthur or D.J. Augustin or Roy Hibbert or Marreese Speights have no shot to be super-duper stars, they don't really help that goal, do they?

If you think Randolph has that shot -- however small it is -- and if you also think you need a few more super-duper stars to get to the summit ... how do you justify passing him up for a potential roleplayer? I'm honestly asking, because I've wavered on this issue, vascillating between Randolph, DeAndre Jordan and the others. I'd like to hear ... err, read your thoughts. Vote in the featured poll, and discuss in this thread.

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