Julius Randle was an absolute beast during his freshman year at Kentucky, but if the 6’9 power forward from Dallas, Texas is to succeed in the NBA, then he must develop a jump shot. Without one, larger post players will push him right out of the lane, forcing him to take shots away from the friendlier paint and forcing him outside of his comfort zone.
In college, Randle was a double-double machine, racking up a nation leading 24 of them during a season that saw the Wildcats make it all the way to the National Championship, before falling to Shabazz Napier and the UConn Huskies. On the offensive end, he was consistently double and triple teamed, but his strength, savvy moves around the basket and his ability to finish with his dominate left hand made him a man amongst boys. He led the Wildcats in scoring, 15.0 and rebounding, 10.4 per game, but rarely stepped out beyond the three point arc to knock down a shot. He only attempted eighteen three balls all year long, connecting on just three of them. If he looks to succeed in the NBA, he must develop a decent jump shot that extends out to the 18-20 foot range.
Randle’s ability to step out and knock down shots will also open things up for him on the inside. During his short tenure at Kentucky, he was able to bully his way through the paint, using his natural strength to physically out-muscle most opponents and finish with a plethora of savvy spin moves around the hoop. The NBA will be a different story for Randle. He has the ability and potential to be a solid player, but if he plans to battle with some of the best in the league, he must improve his overall game, both on the interior and outside the lane. He must learn to face up to the hoop and keep defenders guessing, not allowing opposing players to sit back and wait for him to barrel his way into a crowded lane.
NBA scouts and GM’s have been very high on Julius Randle, even before he ever set foot onto the University of Kentucky’s campus. At 250 pounds, Randle is quite agile and possesses a strong motor, a buzzword that makes NBA executives swoon. He’s a powerful force that has him projected as high as a top five pick in the upcoming draft, despite some questions about his outside game. Further concerns for GM’s is his relatively short wingspan at 6’11—short when compared to other power forward’s that average well above 7’0.
Julius Randle is a special basketball player, no doubt about it. He has an extremely strong work ethic, is naturally gifted with great size and strength and has a solid understanding of the game. He has the ability to get up and down the court, and possesses a bit of a Charles Barkley, “round mound of rebound” aura about him. His ability to develop a much needed jump shot is an absolute must if he looks to have a long career in the NBA. If he can pair the jumper that’s currently missing in his game to go along with the rest of the tools he already exhibits, look for Randle to be a contributing factor with his future team.
Commentary by Johnny Caito