The Los Angeles Lakers took Kentucky power forward, Julius Randle, with the 7th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. We get to know more about Randle by revisiting our pre-draft evaluation:
Randle is a banger, a short banger at 6’9”, but a banger nonetheless. He weighs in at an imposing 250 pounds and he knows how to use his girth and moreover, he can run down the court multiple times without the aid of an oxygen mask during timeouts. He’s 19 and he already has his man-strength. His wingspan is listed at 6’10”, but I think that’s very generous; his arms are shorter than his legs. In the NBA, that can be a problem, however, Randle has the drive to overcome his physical limitations.
For a guy his measurements? Exceptional. Randle is deceptively quick in transition, a large part of UK’s offense. He can also elevate much more than other guys his build.
Low post play ability:
Julius is a bulldog in the paint. He can play off either hand or shoulder, double-team or not. Thrives in iso with his back to the basket. This bodes very very well for his NBA viability. His footwork will need to improve significantly, as he won’t be able to rely on backing down his physically superior NBA defenders. He does tend to force offense on occasion, but it’s not a mentality you snuff, more like contain. He’ll need a firm coach, not a Mike Brown, Mark Jackson, or Scott Brooks type.
Outside shooting ability:
Relatively nonexistent. Randle averaged less than a half a three-pointer attempted per game, but he shot around 45%. He can hit the three if needed, but he shouldn’t focus on improving that at the moment.
Ability to get own shot:
Above average. Can face up and effectively shoot from mid-range. Randle’s jumper is ugly as sin, but if it goes in, who cares? Randle also drives from the perimeter surprisingly well, absorbing contact all along the way.
Best of the entire draft. His numbers may not be exactly #1, but that doesn’t matter because Randle has a serious nose for the ball. He’s one of those guys that just “gets it.” He’s always in the right place for the brick and if he isn’t, he’ll run you over to get it.
Rim protection ability:
Another strength. Devastating chase-down blocks and if a PG decides to body-up with Randle on a drive, the ball usually ends up down their throat. Will produce some of the hardest blocks you’ve ever seen.
Perimeter defense (defending sf/sg):
Capable. Moves well laterally and keeps his arms up and out. Needs to improve leaping quickness for contesting 3s.
A weakness. Forces the issue and seems to throw up a shot more often than pass out of the double team. This problem will resolve itself in the NBA. What Randle needs to work on is making those out-of-double-teams passes on point. As it stands, his concerning turnover rate is a product of immaturity, not lack of skill.
Basketball IQ and intangibles:
Julius Randle is someone you want on your favorite team. He’s not flash and windmills, but he will get 15 and 10 most every game because he just doesn’t stop attacking. His basketball IQ outside of isos and rebounding needs a bit of an overhaul, as he probably won’t be the alpha on whatever team drafts him. He’ll have to adjust to a more secondary role.
Projected position in the NBA:
Comparable NBA player:
Zach Randle. Erm, Randolph.
(draft evaluation by Evan Mielke)
Randle fills one of the many holes that the Lakers currently have with only 3 other players on guaranteed deals for next season.
Randle is a strong and bruising power forward whose game is primarily with this back to the basket and operating in the low post. Randle will also provide rebounding help to a Lakers team that ranked 25th in the league in rebounding last season.
Randle will not be a perfect complement to Pau Gasol as both are best working down low, but Gasol is capable at playing the high post with his excellent passing ability and above average mid range shot. The Lakers brass have stated that re-signing Pau Gasol is a priority this off-season so there is a good chance both players will be playing together next season.