It’s only been a few hours since Julius Randle declared for the NBA Draft and already the critics are licking their chops and sharpening their fangs. For the record, it only took less than two hours for ESPN to throw up a post wondering if Julius Randle could fall out of the top five picks in the upcoming NBA Draft.
To quote the title of one of my favorite all time albums by Rancid, “And out come the wolves”.
As of now, Chad Ford still has Julius Randle listed as the #5 pick in the draft, a position that I think is fair for him. However, declaring for the draft is the easy part. Now Randle faces the grind or working out and interviewing with teams, a process that is crucial to maintaining that top five position. Ford voices some concerns that the NBA front office types may have about Randle:
Randle was billed as a potential No. 1 pick in the draft coming out of high school, and has stayed in our top five all season. He’s a double-double machine blessed with unusual NBA strength and quickness. Plus, he’s a beast on the boards, and uses his strength to create separation in the paint on the offense end.
NBA GMs are always looking for legit power forwards who can control the paint on both ends of the floor. Randle can do that given his body, and he should be able to come in and contribute from day one. For teams looking for an NBA-ready power forward, he’s a very good option.
However, there are reservations. Randle was billed as a great shooter coming out of high school, but didn’t show much of a perimeter game at Kentucky. He also seemed to struggle with length around the rim and doesn’t have much of a right hand. Finally, as Pelton has pointed out, his effort defensively has been mediocre at best at times.
While I don’t think he’s in the mix for the No. 1 pick, he should go somewhere between No. 4 and No. 8 on draft night. The big question for him will be how he stacks up with two other power forwards on our board: Aaron Gordon and Noah Vonleh. Both are unique players, and some NBA teams like them even more than Randle. It may come down to workouts with those three.
If Randle should drop out of the top five, it does not appear that he will fall that far. As far as moving up, I can only see him moving to fourth, so if this holds true, a 4-8 draft position will certainly validate Randle’s decision to leave.
As an added bonus, I have video from Campus Insiders that gives us three reasons why Randle is ready for the NBA Draft and also video of Randle’s announcement in case you missed it.