2014 NBA Draft Scouting Report: Julius Randle (PF)

2014 NBA Draft Scouting Report: Julius Randle (PF)
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2013-14 Season Stats

Points: 15.0

Rebounds: 10.4

Assists: 1.4

Blocks: 0.8

50% from the field

16.7% from three

70.6% from the free-throw line

Measurements*:

Weight: 250. Height w/shoes: 6'9". Wingspan: 7'0". Max Vert: 35.5

*All measurements come from last month’s NBA Draft Combine.

Ceiling:

A physically more imposing Zach Randolph.

Floor:

Rookie Blake Griffin.

Current Comparison:

Slightly more skilled Kenneth Faried.

Analysis:

Julius Randle, in many ways, is extremely NBA ready, yet at the same time, he is not. Randle is a physical monster, which on the collegiate level, often made him seem like a man among boys. Due to his 6-foot-9 frame, and even more impressive 250 pounds, Randle’s physique is reminiscent of LeBron James. Randle’s impressive strength allows him to absorb body contact, especially among traffic in the paint. Of all the players in the 2014 Draft, Randle easily has the most NBA-ready stature and won’t have to worry about putting on weight. On the contrary, Randle will need to monitor his weight cautiously for he seems to have the type of body that could easily put on extra weight. While nearly identical to James physically, athletically, he fails to meet the standard. While fairly impressive with his strength, Randle lacks the viciously explosive leap that gives LeBron such leverage at that height and weight. That lack of explosiveness also fails to help his size.

Standing at just 6’9”, Randle will enter the NBA as undersized power-forward. While small-ball seems to be very common in today’s game, a major component of being able to successfully use a small lineup is having a power-forward that can stretch the floor. One of Randle’s weaknesses is his shooting; the further he gets from the rim, the lower his percentage drops. As Randle adjusts to the NBA, probably the biggest adjustment he will have to make is heavily improving his shooting ability in order to make himself a tougher matchup. At his current stage, especially since he will have to play against bigger forwards, Randle will be relatively easy to guard and the scouting report will not be too complicated to follow. However, with added range, even if just 15-18 feet, Randle would become twice as a lethal and a serious defensive headache.

Randle’s lack of explosiveness forces him to play under the rim, much like Big Baby Davis (but more athletically). However, despite the lack of such verticality, Randle thrives in the paint. His copious upper body strength allows him to force his way through defenders and either get a good look or draw a foul. His seemingly natural ability to absorb contact is very comparable to LeBron James. However, this sometimes gets the best of him and he ends up taking horribly contested shots over double-teams and sometimes triple-teams. While a wonderful tool to have, Randle needs to learn how to pick his spots and not force up bad shots. But, ultimately, his biggest issue in the paint in the NBA could be scoring over height. Regardless of how strong he may be, being undersized will definitely play a role when playing against taller, disciplined defenders.

Despite his height and unflattering wingspan, the ball has a knack of finding Randle’s handles. He is a superb rebounder on both sides of the floor. Offensively, he has a motor similar to that of Kenneth Faried’s. Randle creates a lot of his looks at the rim off of misses, whether his own or his teammates’, by out-hustling defenders, beating them to the ball, and quickly going right back up while using his strength to his advantage. Despite not having a great vertical, he has outstanding instincts for rebounding the ball and has a fairly quick second jump – allowing him to get his own miss before the defender has a chance. On the other side of the floor, Randle is no disappointment. He does a phenomenal job of boxing players out and securing the ball. Furthermore, he is even skilled and mobile enough to take the ball coast-to-coast off a rebound. In spite of that, he sometimes gets carried away and does it a little too much.

Randle’s game is very solid, despite being limited. He loves orchestrating on the right block, where he can hit defenders with a series of moves. He has a solid left-handed hook that he loves using when going middle [with a very nice touch]. He also has two very effective spin moves: a quick one that he does the second he catches the ball after feeling which direction he is being played (typically over his left shoulder), and a strong aggressive spin towards his right shoulder where he can utilize his dominant left hand. Randle also utilizes angles and pump-fakes extremely well since he plays under the rim. Add to that his motor and will and you have an extremely solid player in the paint. Randle has a deceptive first step which helps him blow by slower defenders on both the block and the perimeter. However, that’s when Randle begins to get into trouble.

Randle can be a great player when he plays to his strengths and stays within character. Nonetheless, when he tries to do too much, he can become a liability to his team. While mobile with solid ball-handling for his size, he doesn’t have the capability of breaking down defenders off the dribble and can be very turnover prone. He also tends to try to push the ball in transition too far out of his comfort zone. Another issue is his off-hand. While he may be capable of dribbling with both hands, he is extremely left-hand dominant and has very few moves going to his right hand. In fact, a lot of his turnovers and misses around the rim are a result of his weak off-hand. Defensively, there are a lot of question marks that remain to be resolved. He has the strength to bang with any power forward in the league, but will height bother him? He surely has all the tools to be a solid defender, but his transition into the NBA won’t be a cakewalk defensively.

Overall, Randle is an exceptional scorer in the paint, physically imposing, and has phenomenal rebounding instincts and skills. In many ways, his various tools make him a much more physical Zach Randolph, minus the jump-shot. Over the years, his shooting should improve for his mechanics are not bad. More importantly, a reliable mid-range jumper would keep the defense honest and open up his options. While undersized, Randle does a great job of using what he has to his advantage. He can sometimes be turnover prone and a liability when he gets out of character, but those are both things that a solid system and coach can help address. His off hand will undoubtedly need work, for he can’t afford to have an additional weakness in the paint while already undersized. With the addition of a reliable jumper, Randle could easily catapult himself into the conversation of the top power forwards in the league in a few years. As long as he continues to improve and works on reaching his potential, Randle’s future is extremely bright.