PHILADELPHIA - Newly acquired Anthony Randolph has brought his headphones and an extremely quiet demeanor into a Timberwolves locker room that before any game can feature Michael Beasley singing the Oscar Mayer bologna song and lots of other loud banter.
After Wednesday's victory at Detroit in which Randolph achieved his first double-double game in 14 months, he brought something else.
A big smile. "It was just fun being out there," he said. "I've missed this so much."
"This" was the chance to play nearly 25 minutes -- his most since November. It was an opportunity he used to deliver a 19-point, 10-rebound game, a double-double domain that almost exclusively this season has belonged to Kevin Love.
A former Las Vegas Summer League sensation who was traded away by both Golden State and New York before his 22nd birthday, Randolph played most of the fourth quarter in his fourth game with the Wolves. He was acquired from New York in that three-way trade that sent Carmelo Anthony from Denver to the Knicks.
He scored inside and out. He ripped down rebounds. He was part of a unit featuring mostly reserves and Love that Wolves coach Kurt Rambis turned to for defense in the game's closing minutes.
And perhaps notably, Randolph's presence and his willingness to handle the ball and push the ball on fast breaks appeared to transform struggling point guard Jonny Flynn into an assured, assertive distributor who had 10 of his career-high 14 assists by halftime.
"This guy to my left, man, I can't talk about him enough," Flynn said at his locker after the game. "He'll grab a rebound and he'll wave you off and push the break. To have a guy who's 6-11 out there wanting to run every single time, you have to run. You can't have a guy who's 6-11 beat you down the court."
Randolph, who handles the ball so skillfully for such a big man, was asked if he's auditioning for Flynn's job.
"Point forward," said Randolph, who can play both forward positions and some center despite such a skinny body. "We're working on it."
Selected 14th overall by Golden State in the 2008 draft, Randolph spent two seasons -- he missed the final three months last season because of torn ankle ligaments -- with the Warriors, who last summer dealt him to New York in a sign-and-trade arrangement for free agent David Lee.
"This is my third opportunity," said Randolph, who is under contract through next season and under current NBA rules could negotiate an extension with the Wolves next fall. "I feel like the situations haven't really been right for me to develop and excel. I just thank God for this opportunity."
When Randolph was acquired, both Rambis and Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn called the move a play for the future.
But a few Wolves fans already, via Twitter and Internet blogs, are calling for Randolph to start at center the rest of the season.
"He doesn't want to make mistakes and he's trying to fit in, which are good things," Rambis said. "... The reality is he just needs more and more time out there on the floor."
Flynn seconds that notion.
"You see him pushing the break ... we haven't had a big man who will push the break like that," Flynn said. "He's a guy looking to get you open on screen and rolls. You can throw lobs to him. Just all the versatility he shows. He's somebody we definitely needed."