Lakers Select Julius Randle with 7th Overall Pick

Darius Soriano —  June 26, 2014

Julius Randle is your next Laker. After starring at the University of Kentucky and helping to lead them to the national championship game, Randle was selected by the Lakers with their 7th overal selection.

In our post leading up to the draft, this is what I said about Randle:

He has his detractors, but the more and more I have watched of him the more and more I believe he will be a very good player in this league for a long time. He has good size, skill, and by all accounts is a hard worker who has a drive to be a great player. Also, I find comfort in bigs who compete and have the motor he does to continue to get after it even when things go against him. Things may be hard for him in certain match ups, but I don’t see him as a guy who will quit. Instead I see a player who will take up the challenge and find a way to be effective. Other players have more upside, but this guy just seem to know how to play the game while finding ways to maximize his strengths. I’d be more than happy if he ended up a Laker.

So, needless to say, I am indeed happy. Randle provides post scoring, fantastic activity on the glass, and a non-stop motor that will serve him well for his entire career. We will have more analysis later, but for now comment away about your thoughts on the pick.

Welcome to the Lakers, Julius Randle.

Darius Soriano

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to Lakers Select Julius Randle with 7th Overall Pick

  1. Kupchack has said that they rated Randle higher in their draft board.


  2. So for those of you who don’t know much about Randle or don’t watch College Basketball let me introduce you to arguably the best player in the draft. Watched him play every game last year so here is what I saw.

    The Lakers got a top 3 player at 7. Bill Simmons said it best, Julius Randle is considered the second best prospect for the draft before the season starts, he leads his team to a National title game and the media picks him apart for asinine reasons and Dante Exum whom nobody has seen against top competition except for one insignificant All-star game and Exum jumps him in draft ranking.

    Julius Randle right now is better than Wiggins, and Parker. Anyone who watched college basketball knows that. He dominated the entire year from start to finish, had the second most double doubles as a freshmen in NCAA history. People who worry about measurements must not value heart and the little things it takes to win. Seriously, if you don’t think he isn’t as good as Wiggins go watch Julius play him equally on youtube in one of the best high school games I have ever seen.

    As a player at Kentucky Calipari stifled his talent and restricted what he could do, Cal did the same thing to Anthony Davis at UK. He doesn’t like his bigs to shoot outside even if they can, Julius CAN shoot outside. His 3 point statistics are construed because in the offense at UK he was forced to shoot last second shots at the end of the shot clock sort of like Kobe would when his teammates would play hot potato. In terms of his game, he is a fierce competitor like Kobe, he is an alpha male who will respect Kobe, not be bothered by his bite and rise to the occasion. His motor is off the charts, probably the best in the draft. His athleticism has been questioned as well as his length which is hilarious. He has ball handling ability like Lamar so he will have the ability to play point forward. Julius routinely went up against bigger guys and outplayed them even though they were longer. He has excellent touch around the rim, he is a better defender than he shows (he just needs to apply himself more there).

    Julius could have gone to another school last year and averaged a ton of points but he is selfless and decided to play with a bunch of other high rated prospects and sacrifice stats. Routinely he was triple teamed last year and STILL scored. He had success last year despite the disfunction of the team. Often the UK guards would fail to get him to ball because they would jack up shots, or they couldn’t knock down shots which would force Randle to try to do it 1 on 3 which made it hard for him. Teams routinely played zone because they couldn’t guard him and because the NBA allows better spacing Randle will thrive in the league. All year people who watched him said he will be a better NBA prospect than college because of the restrictions in the college game. He is an incredible rebounder and a willing learner and passer. Calipari’s lack of running an offense last year hurt his stock, truthfully he should never have slipped past 3.

    Randle lead his team to the title game, as opposed to Parker who couldn’t stay in front of a white Mercer University stretch 4 and Wiggins who would mentally check out of games. You could argue Randle should be number 1 if you look past the measurement aspects. Parker had the ESPN Duke media bias, for example in a game they lost to a high ranked Syracuse they JUMPED 9 spots up the rankings. UNHEARD OF! Yet when UK would lose to a higher ranked opponent they would bounce out of the top 25. That UK was scrutinized in the same way the Heat are, and Randle was the best player on that team.


  3. On the Laker-player scale, his offensive skills rest somewhere in the middle of Devean George and Dwight Howard. If we’re lucky, maybe he’ll turn into a Ron Artest type defensive player though.


  4. For the record I may sound partial because I am a huge UK and Julius fan BUT I would rather have LA traded the pick away. I felt if they did keep it he was the best fit for them.


  5. Chris Y nail it. The only person that had more double-doubles than him in the NCAA in the span of one season was Beasley who squandered his talent, and above Kevin Love, Melo and guys that became stars in this league, thats nothing to sneeze at. And he is being compared to Z-Bo and Derrick Coleman thats good comparisions. We will find out eventually but he looks like one of the most NBA ready guys in the Draft,plug and play kind of player which was exactly what the Lakers need.


  6. Hurts when a player you were really hoping for goes to your biggest rivals. The Celtics picking Marcus Smart was a gut punch for me. I’ve been on the Smart bandwagon for a while. I really thought we could have gotten him at 7.

    I’m a bit conflicted on our pick. As a Lakers fan, I’m talking myself into Randle. I think he has major skills and will be in the league for a long-time – and will be in the running for Rookie of the Year based on numbers if healthy – but if you’d asked me a few months ago, I would have hesitated based on league trends and the particular skillset he possesses. That said, you have to place it in context: with the 7th pick, I’m fairly happy with it. I don’t think there was an obviously better player left on the board. I wish we’d been able to pick even one spot higher, but it is what it is. I like the kid’s attitude and am looking forward to rooting for him.

    Zach Lavine’s expression (and reaction, if you read lips) when he was drafted by Minnesota was priceless.


  7. The Hornets traded Shabazz to the Heat for 3 picks. The kind of move that Lebron wanted,safe to say that Chalmers days are numbered in Miami.


  8. P J Harris, a D League player was drafted by Miami, I was under the impression players from the D League were just selected by a NBA team. And I see he’s not the 1st. Anyone know the rules pertaining to drafting as opposed to calling up a player from the D League? Is it simply a matter of in season/ off season?


  9. If we can somehow draft up to get early it would be amazing

    Sid – pj was a one and done guy but because he got kicked out of school he played in the d-league … still need to wait for the 1 year to be drafted


  10. Bah -Phil!!!!!!!!!!!

    The Tyson Chandler trade is looking amazing now.

    With shumpert, hardaway jr and cleanthony early knicks got a good group of young guys – you could even include larkin in that group

    Philly trade was good too – they might only be good in 2 years anyway so when saric gets there hes like a low cost free agent plus they got their own 1st rounder back for next year which will likely be in the lottery again … in like 3-4 years philly is gonna be amazing


  11. Eric,

    I’m sold! Lucky number 7, baby!


  12. 2nd round pick values are set at a million bucks ….. would have been good to have bought the rights to tavares he looks like he could be good in 1 years … huge size and he looked fairly athletic


  13. Mitch and company actually saw Randle work out with their own eyes not youtube hightlights….im really hopeful about JR,like his fire already,like i said a million times “people want the next Kobe,the next Magic or Worthy, i expect the next AC Green, well i think he is better than the great AC Green, so im happy.


  14. This guy is living his dream! Playing for the team he loved and alongside the player he idolized.

    I think Randle will fit right in as a Laker. We just need to bring in some help now. Can’t wait to see this kid blossom into a good or great player in this league!


  15. Well moving on: Congratulations, Julius Randle. LOL, Kobe already has this guy working out. Get his mind right, Mamba!


  16. Another great pick by Phil -greek freak sr


  17. Lakers buy a 2nd round pick in jordan clarkson


  18. @Snoopy2006 – Marcus Smart will be a solid pro player but no way I’m taking him over Randle. Not sure why Boston would need another guard but ok….they will have a solid backcourt now. I live in Big 12 country so I have seen him a lot over his career. Excellent combo guard a little bit better on the ball than off in my opinion. He will have to work on his shot and decision making and he will not be able to overpower NBA guards and much as he did in college. But I do not see him as a Laker type player he just looks like “the other guys” to me.

    Randle is one of the few post players in this draft and the Lakers need some talented bigs.
    My guess is they would have taken either Gordon or Randle. Does seem like Pau’s days as a Laker are over. Gasol has been a good Laker and played big in some big games. Good Luck Pau!

    Randle will have to get serious about his conditioning and strength training. He is undersized and I am concerned about him matching up with big 4’s. He is going to have to get up and down the court also he will need to be able to hold the block and defend the block. The Lakers must be looking to run a more traditional offense because Randle is not a run and gun player.

    I would say this is a good pick although certainly not inspiring. The Lakers definitely did not reach for that “dare to great” situation. He will help and contribute and will probably have a good pro career. He is a big body with some skills but I do not believe he will be a star player let alone a superstar player. Now I could be wrong if the young man seeks to overachieve and really dedicates himself to learning the game and working on his body. If he does we could see Randle make the All-Star game a few times over his career but he would really have to have a serious “work ethic” and honestly I do not know enough about the young man to make that call.

    Alas, welcome to Lakerdom! … Julius Randle. Take a trip to the Staples Center and check out the banners and the jerseys of the Laker greats before you young sir. And understand that you have just been drafted by one of the most storied organizations in all of sports. If you come to understand what the Lakers are all about then maybe one day your jersey can hang on the wall too.


  19. Loving the randle selection. Good job Lakers.


  20. Looking possibly good on the non drafted guys side of things

    both Deandre Kane and Patric Young are still on the board could be great guys to pick up now that they are free agents

    really hope we go after them instead of miami picking them up on the cheap


  21. Great pick, Randle.
    Happy that we grab the best available player out there. Now on to our next move. Happy me.


  22. Clarkson to the Lakers in a trade….nice value pick Mitch!
    A young PG prospect … sweet!


  23. Huge night for our LA Lakers tonight. Julius Randle is the best player in this draft as of right now, and he is the only guaranteed double-double guy for the next 12 years. The first teams took 5+ minutes to decide each of their picks. We selected him with a ton of time to spare. Smart team, smart GM.


  24. Kupchak on Jordan Clarkson: “We had him higher on our draft board. Good size, good defender, excels in attacking the rim.”


  25. Watching the post-draft interviews… Wow!!! This guy is prepared, seems professional, and has a personality that will sell here. Dare I say, a bigger Metta (Ron minus the crazy) but a little Tisdale to him too. Looking forward to watching what he makes of himself.


  26. If the Miami Heat wanted a winner, they got one. The team selected two-time national champion Shabazz Napier out of UConn with the 24th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.The pick belonged to the Charlotte Hornets, but they traded Napier to Miami in exchange for the 26th and 55th picks as well as a future second-rounder.

    For those unaware, LeBron James Tweeted favorably about Napier on the night of the NCAA title game and wanted him on the team.


  27. Renato Afonso June 27, 2014 at 3:07 am

    I’m ecstatic with this pick. It’s easier to find a PG than to find a reliable big and Randle may be just that. He rebounds well and can score down low, so I believe he will have an impact. He may never be a superstar in this league but winning teams aren’t made only of superstars as they’ll need good players in every position. So, if he bulks up a little without losing any speed and if he becomes a good starting PF in this league, then we should be very happy with the outcome. I’m also glad that Smart was taken ahead of him since at least there’s not a player drafted after him that one can say “we should’ve selected player X instead of Randle”.

    We didn’t have a choice and I think that Randle should’ve been a top 4 pick. Oh, and I’ve been on the Randle bandwagon since we started discussing the draft so, I can only hope the guy proves that I was right so that I can happily say “I told you so” 😉


  28. I’m a little disappointed with this pick. Vonleh was still on the board who has the ability to be a presence on the offensive and defensive side of the court. So lets put some lipstick on this pig and see what we got.

    The Lakers picked up one of the few guys who has the conditioning to be a starter right away. He has a fairly polished game who should be able to score and grab some rebounds. He will likely be a defensive liability as he doesn’t have the size or arm length necessary to get the job done. This was evidenced in college by his poor block ratio and steel ratio. He should still have the speed and strength necessary to stay in front of his man. This guy won’t be the next Z. Randolph but if you just expected a solid starting role player then you will be happy with Randle.

    Considering roster composition going forward this means the Lakers need a defensive anchor for a center. Considering Randle as a cheap starter the Lakers should have a little more money to sign other quality starters.

    Welcome to the Lakers Mr. Randle.


  29. Vasheed,
    I think the key phrase you said about Vonleh is “has the ability” especially when talking about his defense. Fact is, though, is he hasn’t actually done that on defense. I’m all for touting his measurables and how that can increase his potential on that side of the ball. I referenced that yesterday morning when talking about him as a prospect. But as it stands now, Randle is the better player. Whether that remains true over the course of their careers remains to be seen and I think is likely the point of contention with folks who wanted Vonleh over Randle. But that’s a judgement for down the line after we have evidence, I’d say.


  30. I’m also glad that Smart was taken ahead of him since at least there’s not a player drafted after him that one can say “we should’ve selected player X instead of Randle”.

    I said yesterday that I would have preferred Vonleh. Randle (born Nov 1994) is less than a year older than Vonleh (born Aug 1995) but Randle is as noted much more a plug-and-play guy. I noticed that Randle is very polished on-camera, seems to have a good media personality, and he grew up a Kobe fan, so if the Lakers keep him (I personally do not think that is a lock yet) the fan base will like him.


  31. @Darius: I understand the Lakers choice here as Randle by all accounts is an NBA ready player. He boasts a more refined offensive skill set and more tenacity. Vonleh is already a better defensive player then Randle though:

    Defensive Impact:
    Minutes Steals Blocks
    Noah Vonleh 500 20 25
    Julius Randle 557 5 15

    Vonleh has all the natural gifts you could ask for and will only get better with experience.

    @Chris Y: The issue here is that you keep comparing Randle to long armed players like Brand and Randolph. Randle might become the next Love or Lee but, outcomes of guys like this are rare and even they have defensive short comings. Barkley was short but again had long arms. Body ratio seems to make a big difference. Dalambert is an excellent shot blocker as he has a great wing span but doesn’t compare to Vonleh who has shown the ability to shoot the ball. So it is an apples to oranges comparison.


  32. not bad, Randal is pretty much Z-Bo light and should be in the league for a while as a solid starter and maybe at his peak a borderline all star. Now we need some defense as he is a poor defender without much ability to grow in that department from an athletic standpoint.

    He was the best player left at 7 so not really much to complain about and is one of the more nba ready prospects, however has one of the lower cielings out of the top- 10 picks.

    All in alla solid pick and asset. Nothing to be unbeleivably hyped for or depressed over.


  33. Vasheed, did you watch any college basketball by chance? To say Vonleh is a better defender is hysterical. The guy struggled on a dreadful team, where he should have padded his stats. Randle shared statistical categories with SEVERAL other NBA prospects. So no wonder Vonleh had more steals and blocks, he didn’t have 3 other NBA PF/C players taking stats from him. It’s called sacrifice.

    And what ability to shoot the ball does Vonleh have? In individual workouts? Most guys can hit wide open shots when nobody is guarding them, why didn’t he lead Indiana to more wins or put up better stats there if the guy is so talented? You ever think maybe he slipped because while he had great measurements he’s a project on the court?

    And Randle is Not a defensive liability once again no idea if you have even seen him play but that’s not the case whatsoever. And you are right he will never be ZBo because ZBo never ran a 4.5 40 yard dash.


  34. “Vonleh is already a better defensive player then Randle though: Defensive Impact: Minutes Steals Blocks Noah Vonleh 500 20 25 Julius Randle 557 5 15”

    I don’t watch college basketball much. I just hope the Lakers put a whole lot more into evaluating these players than a few limited, unqualified numbers.


  35. @Vasheed wrote “He will likely be a defensive liability as he doesn’t have the size or arm length necessary to get the job done. This was evidenced in college by his poor block ratio and steel ratio.”

    You do realize that blocks and steals are not the only measure for defense? They aren’t even necessarily the most important measure.

    Opponent FG% is probably the best measure of defense, as it captures your actual impact on your opponents shooting, and bundles the effects of blocked shots in with it, making it a more comprehensive stat (a blocked shot is a missed FG attempt, and whoever recovers it is credited with a rebound).

    Here are the opponent FG% stats for Vonleh and Randle for different types of plays –

    Post up – 46% Vonleh, 46% Randle
    Isolation – 60% Vonleh, 29% Randle (!!)
    Pick and Roll – 33%, Vonleh, 33% Randle
    At Rim – 60% Vonleh, 27% Randle (!!)

    So you seriously want to argue that Vonleh is the better defender when opponents have a 31% lower FG% on Iso’s and 33% lower at the rim with Randle defending, while Randle matches Vonleh on post ups and on pick and roll?

    The rim defense of Randle is especially impressive, because that is the highest percentage shot in the game and Randle is just crushing guys.

    Vonleh gets roughly twice as many steals per 40 minutes (1.3, vs 0.6), but that could just as easily be a result of Vonleh gambling too much, which is letting guys shoot a ridiculously high percentage on him as reflected in the iso plays and the shots at the rim.

    Fact is, despite all the ridiculous comments about Randle being a T-Rex (small arms), his defense is just like his offense and rebounding. Quietly effective, day in and day out.


  36. Blocks & Steal ratio are usually heavily tied to arm length. As I stated previously I would expect Randle to at least be able to stay in front of his man. My very early impressions of Randle early on had him pegged as a slow moving bull dozer. After watching a lot of video my impression of him improved. But I still view his ceiling being heavily handicapped to develop more. I view Randle as a ready to go player who will be a fairly good starting role player. I don’t expect him to evolve that much. Vonleh I believe will start as a more solid overall player weaker on the offensive end and stronger on the defensive end. He will with playing time exceed Randle in any meaningful way. I understand the pick of Randle as win now choice but, it looks short sighted and goes away from the flexibility in roster construction that I’ve been promoting. Randle requires a rim protector for a center.


  37. @ThomasF thanks man for those % comparisons. Have been sold on Vonleh and was surprised how far he dropped. Your post helps alleviating (albeit still to be proven) those apparent glaring weaknesses on our picks D.


  38. @Fabb

    Yes, the truth is that we don’t know how any of these guys are going to translate at the NBA level. Even the opponent FG% stats are limited because they don’t capture team defense.

    So if a guy doesn’t make a rotation and the offense gets a dunk it might get charge against some poor schmuck who got screened out of the play instead of the guy who should have rotated.

    In fact there are draft videos of Randle highlighting instances like that. But anyone will make mistakes over the course of a season, and if you are the 2nd rated guy coming out of HS, there are gonna be a lot of bloggers with nothing better to do than to pick apart your game because it generates controversy and thus leads to more page views.

    So then some blogger cranks it up a notch to stand out from the crowd and lables a guy a T-Rex after cherry picking block and steal numbers. Those are important numbers, and length is a very important physical attribute. But picking a couple of stats and building a whole narrative off of that can be very misleading.

    At some point you need to watch the game and look at the overall results. Based on the eye test Randle is not going to be Dwight Howard and roam the entire floor destroying offensive schemes.

    But neither is Vonleh. 2 blocks and 1.3 steals per 40 minutes is not a terribly impressive stat once you factor in his incredible measurements. Right away that should tell you he is “under performing” all of those projections people are in love with after the combine.

    If bloggers had had incentives to go after Vonleh it would not be hard at all to focus on the fact that Vonleh has some pretty terrible defensive stats when defending around the rim, or on iso plays. Maybe claim he is soft or lacks heart or whatever. It might not be true, or indicate his actual potential, but it wouldn’t be hard to build a case like that if folks had wanted to.


  39. ThomasF, brilliant posts.


  40. Here is the source page on those stats:

    And some more numbers:–offense:

    FG pct by Play Type This Season

    Vonleh Randle Gordon
    Jumpers 46.3% 17.3% 29.3%
    At the rim 59.3% 70.0% 72.9%
    Post-up 47.1% 39.3% 48.3%
    Transition 46.7% 65.3% 59.4%
    Isolation 33.3% 34.7% 27.6%

    Randle was 9/52 on jumpers, but he did finish well at the rim.