It hasn’t been easy for the Los Angeles Lakers over the last year. After losing Dwight Howard to the Houston Rockets in free agency, the Lakers were hit by injuries, tearing apart their season. They finished 27-55, the sixth-worst record in the league.
It may have paid off because the Lakers used the seventh-overall pick on former Kentucky Wildcats’ power forward Julius Randle. New Lakers head coach Byron Scott praised his ability.
“The young kid is very gifted. Offensively, he can rebound the ball, he can score in the post, he’s probably got 15-foot range. He handles the ball extremely well for a big man,” said Scott on The Dan Patrick Show Thursday morning via Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. “I look at him as Zach Randolph but more athletic. I think in a few years he’s going to be a monster, once he really learns what the NBA is all about.”
Randle was once thought of as one of the top three-to-four players in the draft but concerns about his defense, arms and an apparent foot injury were reasons he was available when the Lakers went on the clock. He has since proven the foot injury was not as severe as many believed, playing for the Lakers during the Las Vegas Pro Summer League in July.
Randle was ranked as the draft’s fourth-best prospect according by Jonathan Givony of Draft Express. He measured in at 6’9″ and 250 pounds with a wingspan of 7’0″ at the NBA’s Scouting Combine. Last season, he put up 15.0 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game while shooting 50.0% from the field and 70.6% from the charity stripe.