Julius Randle and Misusing Versatility

Darius Soriano —  August 1, 2014

We honestly know very little about how Julius Randle’s game will translate to the NBA level. Sure, we have our guesses, but that’s all they really are at this point — guesses. What we do know, though, is that Randle seems to possess a more versatile game than he was given credit for coming out of Kentucky.

After seeing him perform in a couple of summer league games, I wrote this about Randle:

First is that Randle possesses a very nice combination of quickness and power. On several plays he uses a surprising quick step to gain an advantage on his defender and then is able to hold that man off or body up a second defender using his frame. Regardless of the level of competition, these two traits will serve Randle well as the way you create separation in this league is either through outstanding footwork or physical prowess. Randle seems to have the latter and, coincidentally, also flashes some of the former.

The second thing that stands out is Randle’s skill level and ability to play out on the floor. This is where the Zach Randolph comparisons seem woefully out of touch. Randle seems to prefer to step out to 15-18 feet, face up his man and use his dribble to attack the paint. Employing some good ball-handling and a nifty spin move, Randle is able to get to closer to the rim and use his soft touch to convert. Randle also showed off good awareness when creating off the bounce, spotting open teammates on the wing several times, especially when help came at him from the corner.

That ability to play out on the floor and the skill displayed while doing so really did surprise me. It’s not that I didn’t think he was capable — coming out of high school, Randle was touted as an all-court player — but actually seeing him put the ball on the floor at his size while also flashing passing ability was impressive.

In a way, it actually reminded me of Lamar Odom.

First, it should be pointed out that no one is really that much like Odom and the differences between him and Randle are substantial. They have different body types — Odom was long and lanky, Randle is more compact and powerful — and, from what I can tell so far, definitely possess different on-court personalities — Randle seems to be much more of an “alpha” player whereas Odom was very much of a player who did the smaller things well and shifting his game to fit the team’s needs.

But, in looking past those differences, there are some strong similarities. Besides the left-handedness, Randle’s aforementioned ability to play out on the floor and take advantage of his ball handling skill is very much like LO. Add in the nice mix of passing, touch around the rim, and sneaky athleticism (though Randle seems to have even more than Odom did) and there is a good comparison to be made.

What also reminds me of Odom, however, is that some people are already starting to talk as if Randle should play some small forward in order to take advantage of skills that remind of a perimeter player more than a classic big man. And, much like Odom, I think that would be a major mistake in utilizing those skills.

Randle, like other big men who possess some perimeter skills, are best maximized by pitting those skills against players who are not used to defending in space. Put a 6’10” player on the perimeter and tell him to defend a like sized player who just so happens to be able to put the ball on the floor with skill and quickness and the advantage will almost always lie with the player who possesses the ball. Big players normally lack the needed lateral quickness to stay in front of such players. Add in the advantages that come with drawing that bigger defender away from the paint and the benefits to an offense only increase via better spacing for the entire team.

Of course, the natural counter to that argument is that if you have a big man who can score in the paint via post ups — like Randle can — can’t you gain similar advantages by punishing smaller defenders while playing him at small forward? The answer, however, isn’t as straight forward. Yes, in an individual match up you can, potentially, exploit smaller players. But what you also do is crowd the area below the FT line and decrease spacing. Helping against this player is also easier as it usually allows either a PF or C who is roaming in the basket area to slide over more quickly and help erase that advantage. When you combine that with the decrease in spacing, offenses are more easily gummed up as ball movement suffers and defenses do not have to scramble as much.

This was one of the main reasons the ultra big lineup using Odom as a SF next to Pau and Bynum never materialized as a staple of those team’s attack. Not only did it neutralize Odom’s guard skills by putting a defender on him who is more used to defending players with his skill set, but the spacing issues and crowded paint took away the most sought after result of trying to attack a smaller defender with the bigger one (shots in or near the paint). More often than not, the affect wasn’t some advantage for Odom or the team but instead had the opposite result as Odom couldn’t use his quickness as an advantage against smaller players while also limiting his ability to create in space and attack a vacated paint.

The same would likely occur with Randle. Especially if he’s paired with the types of PF’s and C’s the Lakers have on their roster (Boozer, Hill, Davis, and Sacre aren’t exactly guys who need to be defended outside of 15 feet).

I know it’s easy to look at a big man like Randle, see some of the skills he possesses and think that his versatility will lend itself to playing on the wing and punishing smaller defenders by getting into the paint and using his physicality to get buckets. But history tells me the Lakers will be much better off not going in that direction. Because while that versatility is an asset, it can also be misused if you’re not careful.

Darius Soriano

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99 responses to Julius Randle and Misusing Versatility

  1. A number of posters have mentioned that Kentucky didn’t do Randle any favors by how they played him. The people who saw him in high school are much less surprised at his skills than those who saw him only at Kentucky, where he was asked to limit himself and fit their pattern. Perhaps this is why Mitch says the Lakers had him rated higher – yeah! yeah! every team who drafts a player says that.

  2. I believe that Randle/Boozer at PF splitting minutes will give them 25/12. That’s darn good. When was the last time Lakers got that from the 4?

    Sign Beasley and he and Young will get you 20 .

    We know they will get 25 from Kobe.

    Lin/Nash should get them 10 plus assists plus some points.

    Who cares what points they get from the center. Just get 15 rbs from Davis/Hill.

    You tell me if that’s not a 40 plus win team?

  3. Unless Randles height makes him a liability at PF rebounding and defending he is def a PF.

    Being told wrong or what turned out to be wrong insider information regarding where free agents will land won’t take away my confidence evaluating players 🙂 And this Love/Wiggins trade is a classic example of what bad franchises do. They get scared they will lose their superstar so they get average veteran players to put around them to make them happy. But once the player realizes those names aren’t as good on the court they bolt. The Lalers kept Kobe because they waited for a guy like Pau to become available and didn’t trade Bynum for guys like Jason Kidd.

  4. Great write up, Darius. One of the more insightful pieces I have read on Randle.

  5. Ko
    I am charmed by your optimism.
    It’s positively youthful!

    I do like Beasley and I hope they sign him. He’s a talent. If they can get this guy at a discount, like they did Davis, I’d consider that a coup and a nice final touch to their off-season. I’d also like to think that does get them from 38 to close to 40 wins this year.

    I think estimating Kobe at 25 ppg is a tad optimistic. I’d say closer to 20, maybe 22. If he’s aiming for 25 he’s gonna shoot us out of a few games.

    Shades of Sean Livingston with the Paul George injury. Such a shame. I really like that guy. Hope he can recover and I’m glad he already has a nice contract. I wonder how the Pacers feel about their star’s participation in USA hoops.

  6. If the Cavs trade Wiggins for Love without a guarantee of an extension , that will confirm how stupid they are, i read in several places now that he wont sign an extension. It irks me to no end that a franchise as badly run as the Cavs are this “lucky”, nobody can tell me that 3 number 1 picks in four years means they “beating the odds”even though is a testament on how much they stink and their inability to build a decent team, now Lebron decides to come home and people praise them on how they are a model to follow and people forget how Gilbert and co. ran them into the ground the previous 4 seasons, it makes me sick, really, if there is a team i want to fail miserably is this one because i dont believe they deserve or earned any measure of whatever sucess they will have next season. If the Lakers have 3 picks like that in 4 years Dan Gilbert would be calling for the National Guard whinning that is not fair. I hate conspiracy theories but im going to put my tin foil hat on and say that this don’t smell right and im even going to tie it with the VETO.

  7. JC
    I have been called many things, youthful not one of them. As for Kobe.

    Just can’t see him coming back to be an ordinary 20 a game guy. Not in his DNA. I believe having a quick PG who can penetrate will allow KB open shots he hasen’t had. Ever!

    Also I am guessing he is changing his game in a gym somewhere to improveu his 3-pointer to Adjust for age and miles. Also the BS factor. Yea that’s Bryon, who as a friend and or by instructions will develope offense around KB.

    Here is MY inside information!

    “So Mr. Scott, this is our 3rd meeting and you must understand we want ratings! Subscribers. Eyes watching KB chase Jordan and go for point totals. We are losing our rears over this $8 billion Dodger mess and rating were down 37% on Lakers. Price to Comcast and our profits are disappearing faster then the border control”. “So repeat it one more time”

    “Yes Mr.TWarner I will run the offense around Kobe, Kobe, Kobe”

    “Ok Jimmy, let’s hire the guy”

    Of course imy inside information—comes from inside my head.

    Feel free to complement me later.

  8. What will it look like for the franchise if they offer the lowly Beasley and he snubs them for Miami? It’s more than likely that Beasley returns to Miami where he can remain under the radar…no expectations.

  9. you forgot about josh smith also, the same type of 4, he failed as 3

  10. I was created as part of a military operation searching for the perfect four. I was the best. Then Mike used me as a three and it didn’t work. Now I’m unemployed.
    I love the Lakers but I don’t want them to succeed while Jim Buss is there.

  11. @KO, except that the Lakers made $100 million dollars last season. Despite being the team with the third highest luxury tax (which they won’t be this year). Yes the Lakers could have made an extra $50 million dollars by getting ratings up, but they aren’t hurting for money. I actually think Kobe will score less because he will be playing a lot less. BS knows what it is like to be an older player and was complaining about D’Antoni over playing guys two years ago.

  12. @Fern, big difference though. Wiggins was considered a once and a generation type player. I know he definitely didn’t look it last year, but part of that was people over expecting (Only Durant was better as a freshman and he was practically there only option). The other thing was how the Jayhawks were using him. There is a reason Adam Morrison and so many college kids look good against weak competition, there coaches know how to use them. These scout (who do this for a living) rarely get it wrong. The Love trade is one where in a few years Wiggins will be better than Love. So it is a win now deal (but we will look back at the Cavs and wonder why they gave up on Wiggins would they could have had a Jordan like dynasty).

    But I would not worry about Love not signing an extension. Love will be on a contender for the next 5 years, so you have a 97% chance he re-signs. Also remember Love didn’t play with team USA because he wants to protect himself for the trade (meaning he definitely is thinking about the money and the Cavs will give him the max). He took less to get out of the wolves (which makes it different from Kobe who wanted to stay in LA but wanted to win). Love won’t sign an extension because he wold take a lot less in doing so. So he cares about money (probably more so after the Paul George accident). He probably won’t finish his career there but he will sign an extension.

  13. Chearn: “What will it look like for the franchise if they offer the lowly Beasley and he snubs them for Miami?” Well – I believe it will look the same way it has on a number of other things (DH leaving, MD leaving us rather than us leaving him, Kaman leaving, Farmar leaving, Pau leaving, 3 month wait for Byron). None of this looks good and the whole league knows it.
    Ash: “I love the Lakers but I don’t want them to succeed while Jim Buss is there.” Wow – a Jim buss comment that is too extreme for me to agree with. We have jumped the shark.

  14. Henry has same offensive skills as Randle….Randle doenst seem to have hops….

  15. I agree that most of the time the 3 bigs did not play as well together as was hoped. This iteration of the Lakers does not have Bynum and his post game. If the Laker center can show a midrange game and the PF a long range game, then maybe it would make sense to have Randle play SF. We have yet to see him in game shape and maybe he does have the quickness to stay with SFs. If he can develop a consistent 3 point shot, he may end up as a big SF.

  16. Justin TW paid them $150 million on their 20 year deal. To Lakers. Without that Lakers lose $50 million.

  17. Ko I think your inside information comes from the same place as Aaron’s.
    Lin’s athleticism can only help Kobe score more easily if the offense does run through Lin.
    If BS is sworn to run everything thru Kobe then I fear Lin’s talents may go somewhat to waste.
    We all agree the season will depend largely on Kobe’s health.
    I’d be most impressed w #24 if this is the year he gives the rock to the point guard and lets him operate.

  18. -“Precisely!” Don’t forget to include other marginal players that left the Lakers; players like Matt Barnes and Antwan Jamison. Name another time in Lakers history that such an exodus of this magnitude has transpired? I for one, cannot recall such a time as this when this many players voluntarily departed the Lakers.

    Re: Randle, how does a player go from, “I’m so happy to be in Los Angeles,” and “I can’t wait to play with Kobe,” to “Kobe sees no shots.” That’s out and out disrespectful. Apparently, this kid is full of himself from his assessment of his play in the summer league. He chose to battle with a Lakers legend, let alone an NBA international icon. SMH, this from a player whose yet to make a free throw in a game that counts. Needless to say, he better be rookie of the year, or he is going to have a long two-years playing with Kobe. Picture Kobe’s treatment of Smush x’s 2.

  19. @KO, no people completely misunderstand the Lakers deal. They heard the number off the internet without reading the details. The Lakers get paid a large sum regardless of how they do (something north of $100 million dollars), but they also get “bonuses” depending on the ratings of their network and the playoffs (it is in the contract). That’s why last year them made $200 million on the Dwight Howard lead team and only $150 million this year. Ratings and how well they do factor in. Remember the Lakers also pay out $50 million as part of the revenue sharing deal. But the Lakers also make a ton more money on products then any other team (and not just jerseys). That’s why they posted a $100 million dollar profit this year. They paid out $50 million for revenue sharing, over $100 million in salary (including staff and workers in the offices). That $150 million is just what TWC paid, so basically they make a $100 million on there own. And of course more stuff is sold if they are winners. But this year they should get good revenue from Lin (crazy sales in China and will be big with the huge Asian population in California) and Julius cause rookies have brand new jerseys that have never been made (meaning they are starting from zero).

  20. KO seems to be confused about the difference between spreadsheets and basketball.

    I’ve seen the recent videos ofKobe in China and he looked to really struggle to score 1 on 1 against Chinese basketball campers (lots of up fakes lots of spins lots of pounding the rock). If the Lakers get that Kobe they aren’t going to win 35 games.

    Also, KO, can you please explainhowthis team with Lin and Kobe at the guard spots and Boozer/randle at the 4 is going to defend anyone in transition or the half court.

  21. See Ko?
    Being called both youthful and confused on the same thread.
    That’s versatility.

  22. KO seems to be confused about the difference between spreadsheets and basketball.

    I think most people here see that as being my problem, rather than KO’s. But I also wouldn’t place any analytical value on a youtube clip of Kobe messing around at a camp in China. The internet age produces keyboard GMs who lean on numbers, like me. It also produces ESPN/youtube scouts, who lean on video clips and personal subjective impressions. Both groups have a lot of holes in our games.

    The Lakers’ problems are pretty basic:

    1. Unless KB comes back very strong, there is no one on the team who projects to be much better than average. Take KB away, and who is the Lakers’ best two-way player? Lin? Hill? Some people would say Ed Davis, odd as it sounds. Some people here seem to think it may be Julius Randle by the middle/end of the season. If KB were 28, and at the height of his powers with no immediate injury questions, one could see this team as a 6-7 seed. But, obviously, he isn’t and so they probably aren’t.
    2. The Lakers seem to lack rim protection and three-point shooting, and the perimeter D does not shape up as being great, either.
    3. It is neither a young team nor an old team; it is more or less a placeholder team with a caretaker coach with 33M tied up in two guards who will be 36 and 40 when camp opens.
    4. There have been questions about the people running the organization and the organizational direction, philosophy, and informational infrastructure. These questions remain.
    5. There are some issues with skill overlap and roster balance.

    This is not to say that the Lakers will be awful or totally devoid of interest. Kobe, Lin, and Randle will be interesting to follow, and I want to see how Ed Davis does. Henry and Kelly may improve. Nash may have a few retro-nights in him. But the big picture is what it is.

  23. CHearn,
    The “Kobe sees no shots” thing was a crack about a video game. Are you really taking that seriously? My goodness.

  24. Geez. August 2nd, also know as pick on KO day, coming to a the theater in your town.

    Last year was the worst season in Laker history. I for one want to believe this year must be better.

    Sometimes I also tell my wife her dress looks great, my son his golf swing is perfect and my office manager the photo if her new boyfriend looks cool.

    Oh yea, I also play the lottery.

    Sometimes shading the truth and a bit of fantasy are a good thing.

    Therefore Lakers and Kobe will be really good this year!


  25. I believe in Julius. He has the possibility to become our next franchise player. Why not? The future is unwritten.

  26. Darius, I didn’t realize that statement was a reference to a game. I merely read blog headers…my bad.

  27. Mike, you thought you were watching Kobe struggle? Gimme a break man. He was toying with them. Messing around. Pretty sure he’ll be just fine. He was obviously not in mamba mode.

  28. Lol @Mike saying that Kobe was “struggling” gimme a freaking break. It was a basketball camp lol.

  29. I watched a recent video of Kobe playing horse with a fan and the guy put two letters on him. TWO!!! Guess he should hang it up and call it a career…

    Hilarity aside, I thought Kobe moved pretty fluidly at that camp. Color me optimistic.

  30. Warren Wee Lim August 2, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    One thing I do admire from Randle is his character to become an alpha player. He speaks the part, now lets see him play that part. 2 years will be bumpy and full of learning, but that’s exactly what he needs to develop.

    One of the biggest needs for the Lakers right now is to play well. Captain Obvious. But the point I state is that Randle needs to establish himself as a player that can last in this league and have an identity. Thats on the coach to develop and improve the guy we can “hopefully” pin the franchise on, as alpha or beta.

    I think Jeremy Lin’s attack mode will greatly help both Kobe’s percentages and Randle’s game. He can feel the game more, as I see him in his games at Summer League at the same time he can dominate in times where he is the alpha on the floor. If anything he has to earn Kobe’s respect.

    These kids’ bodies will transform still. If you see him at 6’9 and 250 with decent mobility, he could still become 6’9 and 235 with more versatility as he converts his game. If that proves to be a mis-use then he can bulk up once more to 250, this time with muscle. If you noticed Kevin Love’s body (not his game) over the 1st 3-4 years of his career, you could possibly see that in Randle. It all depends where he’s more comfortable at, giving us more success.

    Comparisons to ZBo is really all about being lefty, a good rebounder and having post moves. Comparisons to Odom is due to him having a face up game and athleticism and ability to pass. I don’t think he will be able to see the floor like Odom did, Odom WAS a point guard in terms of that vision, but Randle has the props and certainly the attitude to survive in the league.

  31. At 19,Randle is a work in progress, bigger and stronger, maybe 260 by Oct. With the league getting faster,more athletic,he belongs at PF not on the wing. I see him as a #1 or 2 option able to get his own shot and also able to pass and move in a Scott offense. He has that combination of skill and work ethic that you always look for in a young player.

  32. Randle was baby Lebron in high school. He has better court vision than Lamar. Much higher basketball IQ. If Randle reaches his potential he will be better than LO and Zbo.

  33. Odom can shoot the ball. Can Randle? If the answer is yes, Randle looks like he could be a star player in the nba. If the answer is no, he is going to have trouble staying on the court.

  34. Randle is a 19 year old rookie, i think he will develop an outside stroke in time. Let’s not over analize him at this stage. I think he will contribute coming off the bench this season and his role will increase as his skills mature. He will be fine.

  35. agree w fern, give Randle time, he’s young.
    getting an outside shot isn’t rocket science.
    it’s called practice!
    he can do it, and when he develops a solid 18-20 foot jumper,
    he’ll be very tough, considering his current skill set.

    however, as bmcburney says above,
    if he doesn’t, he’s gonna have a more difficult road.

  36. You’ve prob all seen these Randle highlights, but just in case:


    I like the way he tends to keep his dribble until getting the best possible shot.
    His footwork is good. He’s patient with the ball.

  37. Joe Houston:

    Randle has much better court vision and Basketball IQ than Lamar?! Let’s not forget before “the veto”, Lamar had a pointguard’s skillset in a PF’s body. No one his height (6’10) had better court vision…and the only guy who is 6’9 and had better court vision is Magic Johnson (not Julius Randle)

  38. From the above video, I would say his athleticism and power around the basket mean he will be at the foul line a lot. Spectacular play where he had to reach back for what he thought was going to be a dunk and then finger-tip the ball up and in – near the very end.

  39. Great article,

    Check out this article detailing some of the Laker off season moves.


  40. Nice article about the Laker moves this off season.

    I’m a bit jaded I guess.
    Kareem and Wilkes’ support of Byron is nice but it won’t get a rebound or buy a cup of coffee. Byron needs the support and he’s gonna need it even more when the team is struggling this year.

    I hope the new players don’t tire of hearing about the good old days.

  41. Nice article Ed.

  42. You guys are awesome, thank you so much.

  43. JC – If the playing roster can buy in like Byron’s former teammates have, I’ll be happy. And if Byron has playing rotations & roles that make sense, we’ll be vastly better off than in the past 2 seasons!

  44. This revisionist history of Lamar Odom’s game make me laugh. Lamar was wildly inconsistent and prone to boneheaded plays. For every 2 good plays he followed with a head scratcher. Don’t get me wrong he was a good player but let’s stop talking about him like he was a hall of famer. The man was never an all-star for a reason. Randle’s ceiling is much greater.

  45. JC I was correct on what we talked about a week ago.

  46. Nice write-up on Randle. When Darius wrote, “In a way, it actually reminded me of Lamar Odom” it prompted me to share another player of whom Randle reminded me a bit, and that was Charles Barkley.

    Before people say I’m nuts, I’ll clarify to say I make the comparison with specific reference to upper body control — there were some plays in Vegas where Julius drove to the hoop, was hit, but he’s so strong up top that he still maintained his balance and converted the hoop.

    With better-than-expected foot speed and handle, there will be times when he’s too quick for the four that’s guarding him. If he can develop a steady shot from 15 to 18 feet out, he’ll have a nice pro career. And shooting is a skill that can be improved with work.

  47. how come nobody is talking about this second pick Jordan Clarkson? I think he has potential to be a superstar also. he can learn from KB and Nash. maybe just maybe, he will be the next KB.

  48. That is not revisionist history about Odom. He has the rings to prove it. He was good enough for Phil to still take a chance on him this summer. If Randle can learn to make his teammates better the way Odom did at both ends of the court, he will be a solid player.

  49. Rings do not the player make – period.

    This obsession with rings is neither fair nor particularly perceptive.

    Yes, the goal is to win a championship – or more than one. However, NBA basketball has proven over and over to be a team game. Individual players cannot win championships without the proper teammates. Some do need more help than others. Lamar wasn’t good because he has rings; he has rings because he was good enough and had good teammates that meshed with his style of play.

    I do agree with the comment that Lamar always came with a label noting, “Beware of occasional bonehead plays.” Supreme talent with below average – not bad – NBA basketball IQ.

  50. Craig

    True. Luke Walton had a few rings. The list of avarage players on Miami, Lakers and Spurs with rings that should not be judged by those rings is quite long.

    Patton, Malone and Sir Charles were ringless. Willing to bet they are future hall of fame players. Not so much Walton, Fisher and or Odom.

    Body of work, not rings.

  51. There was a comment during a LV Summer game that Randle played PG on his AAU team. I wonder about his age and size at the time. Didn`t Lamar also play PG in NY as a youngster? It does seem that Randle has some Lamar in him passing in the open court,and sometimes tries to do too much.

  52. I don’t mean to nitpick Ko, but Payton did get his with Shaq and the Heat in 2006.

  53. Congrats, Darius, you are majorly cited and credited for your analysis on Julius Randle in this article on theCBS Sports blog. It was a featured article on the Yahoo home page.


  54. For me, the player Julius Randle reminds me quite a bit of is Charles Barkley.

  55. Yes… Very clear Randle is most similar to Barkley. The difference will ultimately be that Randle doesn’t have Charles’ hops

  56. Oops You nitted correctly.

  57. Re: Wiggins Trade

    I understand LeBrons age and timetable. I’m all for trading Wiggins for a player in his prime but only for a good player. Trading for an average player like Kevin Love is extremely silly for many reasons. If you trade Wiggins at least get a two way star player back. But if you keep the young star… The Cavs would have cap space. If you have Wiggins on a controlled rookie deal you would have two max players in LBJ and Kyrie. That means you could add another max star player down the line before Andrew ends his first deal.

  58. Memories appear to be faulty regarding Odom. You need to separate his off court behavior from his on court play. In the 2009 season, which resulted in a Lakers championship, Odom played the 4th most minutes behind Gasol, Bryant, and Fisher. He averaged the 4th most points, 2nd most rebounds, 5th most assists, 4th most assists, and 2nd most blocks. In the playoffs, he was 3rd most in points, 2nd most in rebounds, 6th most in assists, 6th most in steals, and 2nd most in blocks. Odom did everything well without complaining about not getting enough shots or playing time. Odom was a main reason the Lakers won championships in 2009 and 2010.

  59. I think Randle will be good at facing up and driving to the basket. Other then that though I think his game will suffer a lot vs NBA sized PF’s.

    I don’t see him be able to post up players or defend the post that well. I see him having problems with getting the ball tapped away from him on the boards. I believe he may be an interesting one way player but I’m not convinced he can grow into being a complete package.

    He does not have the length to be a starting PF, nor does his IQ on defense or consistency shooting inspire faith he will become a great SF. He looks like a dreaded “tweener”.


  60. Vasheed,
    I have to give you credit, you continue to make the same points even if the stuff you link to doesn’t even support your argument. You say “He does not have the length to be a starting PF”, yet the link you posted says Griffin and Love measured at .25 inches longer! Is that really such a difference? Also, Draft Express has his combine measurements at 84 inches, not the 83 posted at your link. Which makes him longer than Griffin/Love and on par with others who are clearly starting caliber players.

    I’m not saying Randle will be some super star pro or that he doesn’t have questions about his game. But the height/length argument is about as lazy as it gets when trying to discuss success/failure prospects when it comes to Randle. It’s a piece of the puzzle, but not the clinching factor by any means.

  61. I agree with Baylorfan, Odom was a big piece of the 2009-10 championship puzzles. Very versatile and unselfish and an underrated rebounder. I always loved watching Lamar go “coast to coast.”
    And it was Lamar on the floor in the fourth quarters on those playoffs, alongside Pau and Kobe – not Andrew Bynum.
    If Randle can attain Lamar levels he’s done pretty well.
    Lamar was the primary piece we received back when we traded Shaq to the Heat.

  62. If there was a “block Vahseed on Randle” option I would’ve already exercised it. Really man, same crap over and over . . . .

  63. I get what Darius is saying, and it is a legitimate point. But at the same time, Griffin is a phenomenal/once-every-few-years athlete, and Love is taller and has a more versatile and multifaceted offensive game than Randle seems to–and these things were apparent even when they were college players. And Love and Griffin are both guys with more value on O than on D.

    I get that people are excited about Randle; there isn’t much else to get excited about, and Randle is the highest draft pick, and the second-highest-profile rookie, to come directly to the Lakers since James Worthy in 1982. But there are specific reasons to question how good Randle will be.

    And, Vasheed’s posts are no more repetitive than the group of people here telling us over and over again that they know how awesome Randle is going to be because of the Summer League eye test,
    youtube clips, and and how he was used at Kentucky. It is just that Vasheed is taking the unpopular position.

  64. TheNumberOfFlopsIsTooDamnHigh August 4, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Thanks much Darius for a your -as always- good analysis, this time on Randle.
    I guess you convinced me that starting him at the 3 might not be the best strategy for maximizing his long term potential.
    Still, maybe it would benefit the roster as a whole this upcoming year during Randle’s first season, as i think he could get more minutes if we could start him at the 3 (compared to bringing him in off the bench at the 4)
    I think Randle is offensively better than Wesley Johnson at the 3,
    but not better than Boozer at the 4. (just yet)
    As a small forward he could focus on improving his d, while getting his body better prepared, gaining valuable experience and getting more comfortable with the pace of NBA games.
    I guess I’m leaning this way because I don’t think Wesley is a good enough starter,
    and I think Boozer is actually pretty decent at the 4 (if you have a rim protector/shotblocker behind him). I kind of agree with Vasheed a little bit, having seen Randle play in person, that I’m not sure his game will translate well right off the bat against other power forwards in the NBA. I wish the season would start tomorrow!

  65. If Randle can attain Lamar levels he’s done pretty well.
    `nuff said!

  66. The key point about Randle is that he has enough size and athleticism to be successful. Enough to be the franchise type of player he wants to become? It`s really a matter of staying healthy and putting in the hours of hard work that is necessary in a league where the competition is firece. I like his attitude and look forward to Oct and the progress he`s made this summer.

  67. And Vasheed’s posts are no more repetitive than the group of people here

    And yet, Darius hasn’t called them on it . . . . He’s always been a very even handed mod. Perhaps your impression is colored by your own predilection to repeat point by point, your favorite arguments, and thus your desire to preserve your “right” to do so. You and Vasheed are valuable contributors who add a lot here; it’s a shame when any one poster’s body of work is weighed down by pet arguments. I think it’s healthy to point it out to in order to improve the conversation.

  68. Randle is not 6’10 more like 6’7 or 6’8. I recently saw him on Rick Fox’s NBA TV show and they were about the same height. Also, there is no way he can defend NBA level 3’s they will be going around him all day. He is a 4 and a small 4 at that…his game needs work…serious work. He can certainly overcome his shortcomings but with hard work on and off the court.

    Time to be realistic about who this kid is he is not Lamar Odom who is a legit 6’9 almost 6’10 with handles good enough for a guard. LO could also shoot the 3 while Randle doesn’t even have a jumper yet. He is basically going to try to out quick 4’s with legit size and probably be somewhat successful until teams adjust.

    Like I said he is gong to have to work hard on his game and his body. Load the Mark Aguirre videos son and learn!

  69. the average power forward is listed at 6’9″ and about 235 pounds.
    Randle is listed at 6’9″ and 250 pounds.

    go to Basketball Reference and look at the various rosters and you’ll see that talk of Randle being undersized just isn’t based on fact. perhaps because he’s fairly well proportioned, he doesn’t look his size to some people.

    yes, player heights are often exaggerated, but it’s pretty much a standard thing around the league.

    Randle isn’t small. he may not be super big, but he’s heavier than most other PFs and he’s extremely aggressive. i don’t expect a problem, but we’ll have to wait and see.

  70. @Aaron
    “Yes… Very clear Randle is most similar to Barkley. The difference will ultimately be that Randle doesn’t have Charles’ hops”

    Barkley’s vert was 37.5 at 6’4″ (He was listed at 6’6″, but wasn’t really)
    Randle’s vert is 35.5 at 6’9 (let’s say he really is 6’7″, but he also has a 7′ wing span.)

    His measurables are just fine in comparison to Sir Charles…however, time will only tell if he has the “it” factor that Chuck had.

  71. And yet, Darius hasn’t called them on it . . . . He’s always been a very even handed mod.

    Sure. Darius is excellent. But Vasheed’s posts have been pretty strongly worded and are expressing a definitively unpopular minority opinion. That will draw attention, including from mods, at any smallish internet site, on any topic. FBG is no exception. I think Vasheed is overstating the case against Randle, so I agree with Darius there, but I also think that a lot of people here have overstated the case for Randle as well.

    As to the rest, all the regulars here, including you, have pet arguments that they have repeated several times, relative to their total output. This happens in part because different people bring up the same points. Nature of the beast.

    Finally, I am well aware that no free speech rights apply here, either to any of my posts, or to the act of posting. Everybody here with even a little contextual awareness understands that FBG is Darius’s House.

  72. rr

    I have said over and over and over.

    I do not repeat myself, myself, myself!

  73. His measurables are just fine in comparison to Sir Charles…however, time will only tell if he has the “it” factor that Chuck had.

    Like all the other guys, save Odom, to whom Randle has been comped here, Barkley had a far higher FG% in college than Randle did. Looking only at Barkley’s freshman year, he was .595 (.644 and .636 the next two years). Randle was at .501, .517 if you only count 2s. According to some more granular data that I saw at ESPN, Randle was 9/52 on jumpers, killing his percentages. He was excellent at the rim and in transition:


    So….like someone said a few days ago, how good Randle will be on O may come down whether he can develop a J.

    Also, according to that link, Love and Randle are the same height, so I was apparently wrong there. Here is an excerpt from it:

    “According to Synergy Sports, Love shot 53 percent on post-up plays in his only season at UCLA compared to Randle’s 39 percents. The only glaring difference in their games is Randle’s lack of perimeter shooting. While Love shot 35 percent from behind the arc at UCLA, Randle shot 3-of-18 from deep at Kentucky.”

  74. i have nothing against Vasheed and i often like his posts, but he’s just incorrect about Randle’s size. unlike question about talent or skill, there’s not really any subjectivity about whether or not the man is smaller than average or not. it’s a 100% fact that he is not smaller than average, that he’s not undersized.

    if Randle is a bust as a player, it won’t be because he’s too small.

  75. rr

    I have said over and over and over.

    I do not repeat myself, myself, myself!

    Yeah, but everyone knows that you heavily sample your immense private store of high-end wine and spirits before you fire up the keyboard, so in your case, it’s fine.

  76. .. but only for a good player. Trading for an average player like Kevin Love is extremely silly.

    Lol .. Sometimes, there are comments that, an individual just has to laugh at. As I posted a couple of days ago, I’m not even the biggest fan of Kevin Love’s game (mainly due to the fact that he lacks elite athleticism), but to state that he’s not even a “good player” is, I’ll just say, hilarious. No need to pull up stats – for the record, I’m more of an eye test type of kat – but I’m pretty sure that even the ‘Nerd Stats’ will show that K-Love is, lol, at the minimum, a “good player” .. Personally, I don’t believe for a New York Minute that ‘Bron, who, more then likely, has Gilbert in his back pocket, would be okay with a trade of Wiggins, Bennett, a 1st Rd Pick and, who knows what else, for an “average player” … But, like I said previously, sometimes there are comments that makes you want to laugh.

  77. @Mud

    Randle measured 6′ 7.5 without shoes at the draft. He is not a legit 6′ 9 so yes he is going to have an issue with legit bigs. Since he is not an explosive leaper either he will have to work on his footwork and develop solid moves. The talent is there and I believe the kid has a good temperament. Just needs to develop the NBA work ethic or let’s say Kobe’s NBA work ethic.


    Charles Barkley was a once in a generation player. There has never been a player of his build that was so talented and athletic. To compare Randle to Charles is not fair to Randle at all. Could Randle become a player…sure! Hope he does…I’m a Laker man! But Charles Barkley don’t think so…hell I would settle for Calvin Natt at this point.

  78. 4horsemenapocalypse August 4, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    Julius Randle is versatile, but he must use skills where he is most effective. At 19 yrs. old he has a lot to learn and in the NBA it can be really frustrating. That’s where his will to compete and his desire to excel will be tested. It’s not all about versatility now.

    He should know what his strengths are, if he’s effective as an inside presence then let him work the paint or at most 10 ft from the paint. Then slowly add the perimeter or jump shooting game from 15 to 20 ft away. BUT he must have a bread and butter game.

    Who knows? 2 years from now this kid may develop into a 6’10/6’11 250lb PF who can make 15 – 20 foot jump shots with slick ball-handling and passing (which he has shown flashes of).

    All in time.

  79. Kind of getting old the Randle quessing. At this post he is either future hall of Famer, rookie of the year, growing taller by the minute, candidate for the 6″ and under league or the next Slave Medvadenko Cambell Morrison the 2nd.

    How about we wait a bit before we declare him anything other then an interesting player.

  80. Randle measured 6′ 7.5 without shoes at the draft

    Wrong! His draft combine height per Draft Express is 6′ 7.75 in bare feet. That’s a whopping 1/4 inch shorter than pf specimen Noah Vonleh (who admittedly has a freakish wingspan of 7’4″ compared to Randle’s respectable 7’0 wingspan).

    What I see over and over is that guys aren’t getting that the without shoes measurement and with shoes (or listed height) are two different things. Players like Magic and Worthy were listed at 6′ 9″ but were in fact, at best 6’8″ without shoes. So when you hear that Randle isn’t actually 6’9″ and will struggle against taller, longer defenders, ask yourself who are those defenders? For example, Utah Jazz big Derrick Favors, who actually plays mostly the 5, is listed at 6’10”, but his bare foot height is 6′ 8.75. Again. admittedly Favors has long arms, but Randle is hardly small in comparison to this formidable defender.

    Another thing: body type. One of the things that made Shaq a unique physical specimen was that he was at 7 ft., a true mesomorph. Likewise, Randle’s body type screams mesomorph. Naturally thicker musculature, proportionate limbs that can make a guy look smaller on a screen than in real life. Randle is a big dude. The first time I saw Ron Artest in person I was astounded by his mass, and the same thing with LeBron. It’s no accident that Randle was called Baby LeBron in high school for his all-around game and body type. This guy is a stud who is going to dominate with power and quickness as his game develops (shooting).

  81. Totally off topic, but this LBJ mock-job by an ex-Celtic/ex-Trojan was kind of amusing.


  82. Chris J
    Just want to go on record.
    I think Randle’s career arc will surpass Brian Scalabrine’s.
    You heard it here first.

  83. LordMo
    I didn’t compare him to Chuck. I simply rebutted the comparison of their size. Randle is taller with a longer wingspan than Barkley. His vertical jump is only 2 inches less which is nothing once you factor in his taller frame and longer arms. IF, he is even close to Barkley….then we will have an All Star player at the very least.

    And Randle’s height is just fine. Do you realize that he’s only .75″ shorter than Griffin? And only 1.25″ shorter than DH without shoes? Or how about .75″ shorter than Amare.


    Let’s just hold off until the dude actually plays an NBA game before we completely write him off. Jeez.

  84. LordMo-

    he’s listed as 6’9″
    you don’t think that all the other guys listed as 6’9″ aren’t just a little shorter than they’re listed at? only Randle’s listing is including shoes? exaggeration of height seems to be rampant in the NBA. he’s some 20 pounds heavier than the average PF. with his aggression, he’ll likely be a load for most NBA PFs…assuming that he has the skill.

    Randle is normal sized for a PF. if he does disappoint, it won’t be for height. end of story. he’s big enough.

  85. Have we signed Jordan Clarkson yet?

    What is the status of the Beasley acquisition?

  86. “Let’s just hold off until the dude actually plays an NBA game before we completely write him off. Jeez.”

    This is where I am on the pro and con Randle fronts. I just want to see the kid play against NBA starters. We won’t really have an idea of who Randle is until the end of next season. That’s the case will most rookies. Then there are guys like Damian Lillard who show from their very first NBA game that they belong in this league. It would be great if Randle hits the ground like that. But even if he doesn’t its okay. Post players usually take a little longer to catch all the nuances of the NBA game.

  87. “Clippers to work out back up centers this week. Names that will come through: Andray Blatche, Greg Oden, Andrew Bynum and Emeka Okafor.”

  88. @ESPNSteinLine: San Antonio Spurs just announced the hiring of Becky Hammon as an assistant coach

  89. @ rr we sure could use Okafor. To the “Randle is undersized therefore he stinks” minority, i find it extremely funny because Barkley was a 6’4 PF and a MVP and 1st ballot HOFer, Karl Malone height? 6’9, David Lee?6″9, K-Love 6″10 let’s not forget Z-Bo and while i would not put that kind of expectation in Julius, it would he unreal and unfair to him, i think that throws that “undersized” bs out the window. He is 6’9 but he is a solid 250 pounds, more than enough to use his body against taller but thinner PFs out there. He can dribble , he can rebound, he can pass and he can finish. He definetly need a mid-range jumper but being a rookie there is no reason to believe he will not develop a reliable mid range shot in time .All the basketball world agree that he was basically a steal at #7 but it all comes down that he is not the guy that a little group of people didn’t want and since he is not the one they wanted, they are going to dump on him until he prove them wrong. He is a traditional PF and what i see of him is that he will become a bruiser down low, the sort that is dissapearing from the NBA. I think he is the real deal, not a superstar mind you but a solid player and a vital piece for the future.

  90. rr – “Clippers to work out back up centers this week. Names that will come through: Andray Blatche, Greg Oden, Andrew Bynum and Emeka Okafor.”

    Blatche would be another nice pickup if the Clippers went after him. He has always had talent but he’s a bit of a head case. I think, with Doc and CP3, Andray would have enough structure to excel. He did have a PER of over 18 last year. The Clippers are going to be bigger this year having already added Spencer Hawes. I like what they are doing.

    As a side note, I don’t believe any of the other three can play/stay healthy.

  91. I don’t understand why the Lakers aren’t looking to address the glaring hole at center. Not that I’d necessarily want any of those four guys the Clippers are seeing, but the seeming lack of action to address a glaring need is concerning. Hopefully Mitch & Co. are working on this under the radar.

  92. Chris

    Mitch can play center.

  93. All the basketball world agree that he was basically a steal at #7

    I haven’t seen any evidence which indicates that this is the case. Orlando took a Tweener 4 ahead of him and Boston, which needs help everywhere and already has Rondo and Bradley, took Marcus Smart ahead of Randle. Since Ainge is usually thinking ahead and thinking big, he may have taken Smart to make it easier to trade Rondo, but Randle ultimately went about where everyone expected him to go.

    As to the rest, I am open-minded about Randle but have some doubts. T Rogers has the right attitude about it.

  94. rr-it was the hoopla about Randle’s foot that seems to have dropped his draft position. if you remember, before that, he was considered to be a top 3 pick by the “experts”.

    since his foot turned out to not be a problem, it’s generally posited by those “experts” that his draft position was too low, therefore “a steal at #7”. that evidence is widespread and common.

  95. Mitch can play center.

    He may have to. Kareem’s going to be busy training Hibbert.

  96. rr-it was the hoopla about Randle’s foot that seems to have dropped his draft position. if you remember, before that, he was considered to be a top 3 pick by the “experts”.

    since his foot turned out to not be a problem, it’s generally posited by those “experts” that his draft position was too low, therefore “a steal at #7?. that evidence is widespread and common.

    That may have been the perception of Randle before the college season started, but I never saw any mocks after January that had Randle in the Top 3; it was always Wiggins/Parker/Embiid in some order. I have not seen any articles since the draft suggesting that Randle was a steal. A lot of people questioned Alex Gordon going at 4, but that was as much, if not more, about Exum and Smart as it is about Randle. ESPN ran an Insider piece on Randle in January (which I read in May), suggesting that Randle had been overrated initially and was now probably a tier lower.

    But if the evidence of such is widespread and common, it shouldn’t be hard for you to post some links that confirm it.

  97. rr-there you go thinking that i want to convert you again…

    our very own Michael Thompson wanted the Lakers to draft Randle, then on the same day that MT made a big deal about Randle being the real deal, it was announced that he may need surgery on his foot. ALL of the ESPN “experts” mocked him openly because he didn’t want to give up the idea. there has been a LOT of talk about the subject, just like the talk that Randle has T-Rex arms.

    personally, i don’t know how he will perform, but judging from the very small amount of tape and interviews that i have seen, he looks pretty darned good. as i keep saying, we’ll see. there’s nothing to win by being correct, unless you count the entertainment.

  98. It’s hard to compare old players to today’s elite athletes from all over the world. You don’t see any 6-5 PFs today. And btw… When the greatest players in the world compete the differences between good and bad is an inch of height/length here and two inches of vertical leap there.

  99. Darius “I have to give you credit, you continue to make the same points even if the stuff you link to doesn’t even support your argument. You say “He does not have the length to be a starting PF”, yet the link you posted says Griffin and Love measured at .25 inches longer! Is that really such a difference? Also, Draft Express has his combine measurements at 84 inches, not the 83 posted at your link. Which makes him longer than Griffin/Love and on par with others who are clearly starting caliber players.

    I’m not saying Randle will be some super star pro or that he doesn’t have questions about his game. But the height/length argument is about as lazy as it gets when trying to discuss success/failure prospects when it comes to Randle. It’s a piece of the puzzle, but not the clinching factor by any means.”

    The problem with comparing Randle to guys like Griffin, Love, Young, etc. is that they are only I believe 5 guys in the NBA starting at PF who have sub 7′ wingspans. Randle is not average sized, he can only be compared to the smallest of the small. Those guys are pretty good but it is a big statement that you have to be that good to thrive in the NBA at those measurements. Will Randle play larger then his dimensions might dictate? Maybe but, I think it will be drag on the kind of player he might otherwise become.