Randolph played a college year for Michigan State Spartans before deciding to enter the NBA draft . Randolph was drafted 19th overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2001 and was an initial backup to Rasheed Wallace . As a rookie , he endured a troubled first season. The Blazers team of the early 2000s was also known as the “Jail Blazers” back then, due to many off-court problems. In his first two years as a pro, Randolph played in 118 games, averaging 8 points and 4 rebounds , and played in 8 playoff games.
His breakthrough came in the 2003–04 season . The Portland management separated this season from many weak or dissatisfied players. When Rasheed Wallace left, Randolph became the new regular at the power forward position. He was now averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds per game, winning the NBA Most Improved Player Award , and being rewarded with a lucrative $84 million six-year contract.
After missing nearly 40 games through injury the following year, Randolph played an impressive 2006-07 season , averaging 23 points and 10 rebounds per game. However, the Blazers were among the most unsuccessful teams in the league. With the arrival of LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Oden , it was Randolph who had to make way for the youngsters.
In June 2007, the power forward was brought to New York by New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas and, together with center Eddy Curry and playmaker Stephon Marbury , should help the Knicks team to shine again. That plan fell through miserably in 2007-08 as the Knicks won just 23 of 82 games this season and Randolph posted a disappointing 17 points a game for him.
In November 2008, he joined the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for Cuttino Mobley and Tim Thomas . There he played until the end of the 2008/2009 season , scoring an average of 20 points per game. Randolph was suspended for beating Lou Amundson . In July 2009, it was announced that the Clippers would trade Zach Randolph to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Quentin Richardson .
In Memphis, Randolph progressed to All-Star . He was nominated for the NBA All-Star Game in 2010 and 2013 and was selected to the All-NBA Third Team in 2011. Together with Mike Conley Jr. and Marc Gasol , the Grizzlies developed into a winning team and reached the playoffs every time between 2011 and 2015, even reaching the conference finals in 2013. In the summer of 2014, Randolph extended his contract with the Grizzlies by two years for $20 million. On February 20, he managed a triple-double for the first time in his career. Randolph had 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in the Grizzlies’ 113-102 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
The following season, Randolph did not start regularly for a long time as coach David Fizzdale wanted him off the bench as a scoring option. In 73 games and only 5 of them on the starting lineup, he still averaged 14.1 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.
In the summer of 2017, Randolph left the Grizzlies to join the Sacramento Kings . He signed a two-year, $24 million contract there. As a thank you for the many years in Memphis, the Grizzlies have decided not to give away his number 50 jersey anymore.
In the 2017-18 season, he had 14.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists with the Kings. As part of the Kings’ rebuild, Randolph was not used in a single NBA game during the 2018-19 season. In February 2019, Randolph joined the Dallas Mavericks in a swap deal , but he was released by the Mavericks shortly after the transfer and announced his retirement from active sport at Christmas 2019.
The Knicks named the sensible and shrewd Donnie Walsh as their new President today. During the press conference announcing his hiring Walsh steadfastly avoided commenting on whether he’ll fire Isiah Thomas but he did say things about “changing the culture.” And when you have things like this clip of Zach Randolph playing around with Toronto a culture change seems desperately needed.