The Los Angeles Lakers entered the 2014 NBA Draft as one of the most highly scrutinized teams throughout the process. With a virtually empty roster with the exception of Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, the Lakers were in firm position to draft the “best player available” with the seventh overall selection, and with that, they have opted to select former Kentucky power forward Julius Randle.
Seemingly, the Lakers had a choice between Julius Randle and former Indiana foward Noah Vonleh, but Randle profiles as the better player immediately for a team that likely wants to be in the mix. The 6-foot-9 left-hander had a highly productive freshman campaign for one of the best programs in the country, averaging more than 15 points and 10 rebounds per game, but some pundits and scouts were reportedly worried about a potential foot problem that could become a long-term issue.
It remains to be seen whether Julius Randle can defend at the NBA level, but offensively, he may one of the most prepared players from the moment he arrives in the league. He possesses the always coveted “NBA body”, and with the opportunity to exceed, the stage is set for him to fulfill his potential. The roster in Los Angeles is highly in flux at this stage, but Randle profiles as a player that Kobe Bryant could enjoy playing with from day one, and that certainly matters in one of the more high-profile organizations in the sport.