Times are bleak in La La Land, perhaps the bleakest time most of us can remember. Julius Randle, the No. 7 overall pick by the Los Angeles Lakers, hopes to change that.
The burly 19-year-old averaged a double-double in his one and only season at Kentucky, leading the Wildcats to the NCAA National Championship Game. The big man shot 50.1 percent from the floor and displayed solid versatility on the offensive end, showcasing his outstanding ball-handling ability and his penchant for knocking down mid-range jumpers in the pick-and-roll.
The question with Randle is whether or not he can continue to overpower players at the next level.
Because of the fact that he is a bit undersized at 6'9" and isn't overly athletic, Randle is going to have to either extend his range to the three-point line or improvise quite a bit on the low block.
Fortunately, he will be playing alongside one of the greatest players to ever step on the hardwood in Kobe Bryant, so there is no doubt he will learn a lot in his rookie season. Bryant, if healthy, will obviously take a massive amount of pressure off Randle and allow him to flourish.
Let's also remember that Carlos Boozer is also aboard, and although he took his fair share of criticism with the Chicago Bulls, he has a solid low-post game and can teach Julius a thing or two. Plus, Boozer and Randle have something in common: They were both undersized power forwards upon entering the league.
Randle is certainly in a cushy situation. Landing in LA is a dream come true for a lottery pick.
"It's the organization that I wanted to go to," Randle said during a conference call, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles. "I couldn't be in a better situation for me, and I'm just really excited to get things started there."