Greg Payne/ESPN Boston
Shavlik Randolph warms up before Friday's game against the Warriors.BOSTON -- Shavlik Randolph, inked by the Celtics to a 10-day contract on Friday, said prior to his Boston debut that he hadn't talked to the coaching staff about what they expect from him. But when you're the leading scorer in the Chinese Basketball Association, that role probably goes without saying.
"I told them I can’t give them 20 [points] and 10 [rebounds] right now. Let me get my game legs, I’m still kind of jet-lagged," joked Randolph, who averaged 32 points and 15 rebounds in 28 appearances for the Foshan Long Lions. "After I get my game legs, I can give them 20 and 12, but I told them to let Kevin [Garnett] play tonight."
If nothing else, Randolph has a good sense of humor. Undrafted out of Duke, where he never came close to reaching his hype, Randolph has averaged a mere 2.4 points and 2.4 rebounds in 95 NBA appearances. He hasn't played in the league since the 2009-10 season, when he split a mere six games between the Heat and Wizards.
Now he has an opportunity with Boston and is simply looking to show he deserves to stick around the league.
He didn't play Friday night, but said he'll be ready when his chance comes.
"I don’t think [Rivers] has to tell me [my role]. If I go in there, it's to hustle, to try to rebound, try to play defense, take charges -- not get fined for flopping," said Randolph. "That’s kinda always been my role on any team I’ve been with."
Randolph returned stateside earlier this week and didn't expect his phone to ring until after Friday's buyout deadline, when playoff-caliber teams would get a better idea of available talent. But his agent soon relayed news that the Celtics were interested, and by Friday morning he had inked his pact and was on the court for the team's morning shootaround.
Randolph was the third player to ink a 10-day contract for Boston out of China in the past 10 days. He joked that having familiar faces like Terrence Williams and D.J. White on the floor gave him an immediate comfort level.
"We were going through shootaround this morning, it was me, Terrence, and D.J., and I was just like, 'Man, this is a CBA team right here,'" said Randolph. "It definitely makes us more comfortable, just having been playing with these guys and against them. I think it helps all of us in this situation."
The new faces were playfully teasing each other before Friday's game, Williams claiming his team beat Randolph's squad in both season meetings (Randolph said they actually split). A rumor was floating that Randolph dropped a season-high 55 points in a game against White's team, but said it was against another opponent.
The 6-foot-10 Randolph admits his scoring exploits did help garner some additional attention.
"I think the fact that I ended up leading the league in scoring, definitely gave me some publicity, because there’s some very good players over there in that league, it’s been documented," said Randolph. "I don’t know about breakout [season] -- kinda, it definitely helped me out a lot."
It certainly might have helped him catch Boston's eye as it scoured the international market for serviceable big men. He was still getting acclimated in the Boston locker room before Friday's game, but it had to be easier than adjusting overseas.
"It’s definitely a culture shock," Randolph said of China. "The teams do the best they can to make the Americans feel at home. They give you a translator. And the league’s gotten better. There’s a lot better players going into the league, the Chinese players are getting better. China is very passionate about basketball. And it makes a basketball-head such as myself feel right at home. Because every game you’re playing in is sold out."
Of course, that leads to a different sort of obstacle in a jam-packed 15,000-seat arena.
"The thing I don’t like is they smoke in the gym," said Randolph. "So you come out of halftime and you feel like you’re about to play a game of laser tag. You walk out in a mist of cigarette smoke."
As much as he enjoyed the experience, he joked that eating actual Chinese food was a bit of an adventure (he took full advantage of the American cuisine offered as part of the 24-hour room service at the team hotel). And it's safe to say that Randolph, White and Williams won't be rushing for a meal at the Kowloon in Saugus.
"I don’t think you could pay me to eat Chinese food right now," joked Randolph.