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Zach Randolph climbs ranks of NBA history while leaving his mark on Kings

Zach Randolph discusses the art of rebounding after surpassing 10,000 for his career

The Kings beat the Brooklyn Nets 104-99 on Wednesday at Barclays Center.
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The Kings beat the Brooklyn Nets 104-99 on Wednesday at Barclays Center.

One rebound.

That’s all Zach Randolph needed to become the 20th player in NBA history with at least 18,000 points and 10,000 rebounds.

Randolph didn’t know that until after Tuesday’s win at Philadelphia, when he grabbed five. It took a message from a friend to let him know he was a rebound short of the exclusive club.

“I was like, one rebound?” Randolph said. “I could have got that the last game.”

Randolph got that rebound Wednesday, early in the first quarter of Sacramento’s 104-99 win over the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. He finished with eight, placing him 39th in NBA history, to go with 21 points.

Over 16 seasons, Randolph has proven to be one of the most reliable scoring and rebounding power forwards of his generation. Joining the 10,000-rebound club carried special meaning for him, because he prides himself on that aspect of his game.

The Kings entered this season concerned about their inability to rebound. Randolph, 36, has done his part, averaging a team-high 7.0.

He has never been one to soar through the air, but somehow he finds a way to corral missed shots.

“Rebounding is an art,” Randolph said. “I tell the young guys, ‘It’s not about who jumps the highest and how strong you are. Rebounding is about positioning and having a knack for the ball and reading where the ball will come off, or have a good sense where the ball is going to bounce.’ 

It’s fitting that Randolph didn’t realize he was close to the mark. He knew when he signed a two-year deal with the Kings in the offseason that he would have to be selfless, a mentor to his younger teammates. He’s done that – while leading the team in scoring and rebounding.

“He’s a joy to be around,” said Kings coach Dave Joerger.

Joerger also worked with Randolph in Memphis as a head coach and assistant, so he has had an up-close perspective on what Randolph has accomplished as a player and leader.

“He was good then with younger guys and he’s great now,” Joerger said. “Being able to talk to guys about experiences and also the way he speaks to young guys is really much better than it was in the past. Again it wasn’t bad in the past, he just continues to grow and he’s still getting it done out there (on the court) which is fantastic for us.”

Randolph has always spoken highly of his younger teammates, even as there have been struggles on the court. He’s praised their work ethic and acknowledges their improvements in practices and when he sees them in games.

So as he moves up the ranks in NBA history, Randolph is leaving his mark on the Kings.

“He’s just a professional,” said Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein. “He does what he does and then comes in and gets you 25 and 10, and for him being in the league for so long, he’s still playing at that elite level. It’s great to have him as a mentor and as an older brother. I’m just blessed that I’m able to play with him now instead of against him.”

Jason Jones: @mr_jasonjones, read more about the team at sacbee.com/kings.

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