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Zach Randolph, Model Teammate And Leader. Who Would Have Thought?

Let's play fill in the blank.  Here's the story in question.

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The [NBA Team] received an early Christmas gift in mid-July when [NBA Player] officially joined the franchise.

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Unwrapped, he has simply been the gift that keeps on giving. And no one put out more Sunday afternoon in [NBA Team's Home Arena] than [NBA Player].

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Where would the [NBA Team] be without the nine-year veteran?

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NBA Team?  The Memphis Grizzlies.  NBA Player?  Zach Randolph.  You heard me.  Zach Randolph.

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It's not a joke either.  The Grizzlies just beat the Nuggets behind Randolph's 32 points and 24 rebounds.  They're 6-3 this month, including wins over the Cavaliers, Mavericks and Nuggets.  All of this with Zach Randolph -- Zach Randolph -- as the veteran leader of a talented kiddie core that includes Mike Conley, Rudy Gay, O.J. Mayo, Marc Gasol and Hasheem Thabeet. 

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Here's what Conley said about Randolph (emphasis added):

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“I knew he’d be good. I had no idea it would be like this,” Griz point guard Mike Conley said. “Shockingly, people here were down on him. But he’s 100 percent different than what people thought.”

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Are we in an alternate universe, or are the Grizzlies just proving everyone that bashed the offseason Randolph trade (myself included) wrong?  I guess it could be the alternate universe.  It did just snow two feet in Washington D.C. after all.