Drafted by: Los Angeles Lakers, No. 7 pick overall
Height/Weight: 6'9", 250 lbs
Age: 19 years old
Projected NBA Position: Power Forward
Pro Comparison: Derrick Coleman
|Statistics at Kentucky|
As a 19-year-old freshman, Julius Randle established himself as one of the toughest, most physically imposing big men in college basketball. He finished his one-and-done season with 24 double-doubles, having played a major role in Kentucky's run to the national title game.
Randle's game is predicated on strength and athleticism. At 6'9", 250 pounds, he uses his body to pound the rock inside or win the battle on the boards. He also has quick feet to go with some shake and agility in his shoulders—we've seen Randle take defensive rebounds coast to coast and finish on the move.
A tough cover on the block or the elbow, Randle can score with his back to the rim off post-ups, cuts and offensive rebounds. He plays through contact and ultimately initiates it in order to bounce off his man and separate for shots.
Just about all of Randle's buckets are off one-handed shots. He has excellent touch and offensive instincts in the paint, along with the dexterity and athleticism to finish in or around traffic.
Randle is most dangerous when he can face his man up from the elbow or mid-range and attack him off the bounce. He's too quick and shifty for most big men, who struggle to keep up laterally, and with tremendous body control, Randle can finish plays on the move.
Randle averaged 10.4 boards during his one season at Kentucky, including 3.5 per game on the offensive glass. He's a bully down low, using his size to establish position and outmuscle opposing bigs.
He also took advantage of the offensive glass as a scoring opportunity, having converted 56 putbacks as a freshman, per Hoop-Math.
Rande's motor, nose for the ball and strength should allow him to provide an immediate physical presence on the NBA interior.
Randle needs to add a jumper to his arsenal. He hit just three three-pointers all season and shot 70.6 percent from the free-throw line. When defenses packed the paint and kept him away from the rim, he struggled to find a sweet spot from which to score.
Fundamentally, he relies a bit too much on strength and not enough on calculated moves. His right hand also needs work.
Additionally, Randle averaged less than a steal and a block per game as a freshman. He could stand to improve his on-ball and help defense, though he probably doesn't offer much upside on the defensive side of the ball.
With an NBA-ready body built for contact, Randle should be able to step in and make a difference in the paint from day one. There's no reason why his low-post game and rebounding ability won't translate right away.
However, don't be surprised if Randle struggles with scoring inconsistency early on. It happened to him occasionally at Kentucky when defenses focused on neutralizing him by sending double-teams his way or packing the paint.
The development of Randle's jumper should play a major role in determining just how tough he'll eventually be to stop. Based on what we've seen in high school, practice and warm-ups, he certainly looks comfortable shooting the ball. He just wasn't given the green light to let it fly at Kentucky.
His ability to bang on the glass and generate offense in the paint will carry him throughout his career. But if that jumper comes around, the way it did for a guy like Zach Randolph, Randle has All-Star potential based on his offensive upside.
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