Julius Randle was one of the elite freshmen in the country last season and led his Kentucky squad into the finals of the NCAA Tournament. We take a look at how Randle may translate into the next level.
The 6-foot-9 power forward is an explosive leaper who makes up for his lack of prototypical size for the position. His effectiveness was shown in his season averages of 15 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. Randle is at his best when he catches the ball away from the basket and can attack the defender off the dribble. He has the quickness to beat bigger defenders who will be guarding him in the NBA. When Randle attacks with his left hand, he’s nearly unstoppable. He has great body control that allows him to hang in the air and finish against defenders.
Randle can struggle going right and when facing help defense. He’s shown flashes of attacking with his right hand, but that’s still an area he’ll need to improve. When he faces help defense, he struggles to find open teammates. In addition, Randle can get the ball stripped when a help defender comes. He tries to overpower opponents on occasions, which may work against smaller defenders, but can be an area for concern at the next level. His lack of length also gives him problems on both ends of the floor.
If Randle adds a mid-range jumper and some back to the basket post moves, it would immensely help his offensive game. As a freshman with an NBA body and elite athleticism, Randle has still has plenty of time to get even better.
On the defensive end, Randle shouldn’t have any issues but this isn’t a major strength either. He’s a great rebounder but won’t block many shots. His energy can make up for his lack of length.
Because of their resemblances in attacking the basket, Randle could be similar to Memphis’ Zach Randolph; however, Randle is far more athletic while Randolph is a much better mid-range shooter. At worst, he may be similar to former Kentucky standout Terrance Jones, who was an underrated part of the Rockets’ squad this season. The biggest key to Randle’s development will be his ability to stretch a defense with a respectable jumper.
Randle should be a top-five pick in this year’s NBA Draft. He may not have as much upside as other top prospects, but there are still areas for improvement. Randle is one of the more solid prospects in this year’s draft.
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