After an abysmal year, the Los Angeles Lakers had the seventh overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft. To help turn around the franchise, they selected former Kentucky standout Julius Randle.
Bleacher Report noted the selection after the Lakers pulled the trigger:
The Lakers select Julius Randle with the 7th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft! pic.twitter.com/RvwMHg9kbU— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 27, 2014
The Lakers also welcomed the former Wildcat:
One of the most famous players ever to take the court for the Lakers in Kobe Bryant also gives his thoughts on the selection:
Mike Trudell of Lakers.com passes along the franchise's reasoning behind the pick:
The Lakers were extremely impressed with Julius Randle in his workout. In addition to a big, athletic body, he has a great motor.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) June 27, 2014
Randle averaged 15.0 points and 10.4 rebounds as a freshman during the college basketball season, making him a huge presence in the paint. With his size and power around the rim, Randle has a chance to be one of the best players in the class despite falling behind some of the other elite freshmen in his crop.
The power forward spoke about being passed over by other teams, per Jeff Borzello of CBS Sports:
Julius Randle: "The teams that pass on me will regret it."— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) June 27, 2014
Tony Mejia of Pro Basketball News and Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times gave their thoughts on the prospect:
7.LAL-Julius Randle, F, UK: He's got a lot of talent, especially given his frame. Must work to stay in top-notch shape. Needs to learn on D.— Tony Mejia (@TonyMejiaNBA) June 27, 2014
Julius Randle is the Lakers' new power forward. Double-double machine at Kentucky reminiscent of Zach Randolph.— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) June 27, 2014
Though he put up huge numbers, there are also injury concerns associated with the big man. Talks about a potential foot injury floated around leading up to the draft, but Randle denied any reports.
Will Carroll of Bleacher Report highlights the Lakers' potential plans for Randle:
Randle may miss start of season. Lakers one of teams that want him to have screw removed from foot.— Will Carroll (@injuryexpert) June 27, 2014
The Lakers are clearly one of the most famous franchises in the country, with several celebrities following the team.
Even rapper Lil' Wayne provides his analysis on the pick:
Julius Randle is a fantastic pick! Toughness— Lil Wayne WEEZY F (@LilTunechi) June 27, 2014
The Lakers need to rebound quickly and hope that Randle can bring an immediate impact on the court. While they were likely hoping to crack into the top five, the Lakers still got very good value with the seventh selection.
Thanks to his supreme rebounding skills and ability to grind down defenders in the paint, Randle can help the Lakers right away. Having a chip on his shoulder will also help, as he'll be battling with many of the same franchises that passed him over on Thursday night next season.
Coming into the college season, Randle was widely seen as one of the top three players in the class before the rise of fellow freshman Joel Embiid. The power forward dropped in the class, but still has the talent to shine in the Western Conference to help the team recover.
Follow @RCorySmith on Twitter.