This year’s NBA Draft has the potential to be loaded. However, star college players such as Joel Embiid and Jabari Parker are not yet totally sure on whether they will declare or not. With that said, we may be looking at the loaded draft in 2015 rather than 2014. Either way, the Los Angeles Lakers will be in possession of likely a top 7 pick in the 2014 draft. Plenty of quality players will be available with or without Parker and Embiid, so the Lakers have the opportunity to expedite their rebuilding process.
Julius Randle‘s name comes to mind when evaluating Los Angeles’ options as the team is in desperate need of a defensive presence in the painted area. Los Angeles has given up an uncharacteristically high amount of points in the paint as well as career highs to average players like Miles Plumlee, Kelly Olynyk and Tobias Harris. Allowing upwards of 50 points in the paint per game, which is last in the league, is not only unacceptable but embarrassing. This can partially be blamed on Mike D’Antoni as he loves to play small ball, but the Lakers do still have a few near 7-footers who are fully capable of clogging up the paint.
Although drafting Randle would not completely solve the Lakers’ issues on defense, it will definitely help. On the offensive end, Randle is a beast in the paint. He overpowers his opponent night in and night out, averaging nearly 18 points per game with the Kentucky Wildcats. Randle’s post-game is not completely polished yet, but it should come as he has more experience under his belt. As for rebounding, he has no problems on both the offensive and defensive glass. At only 6-foot-9 Randle averaged about 12 rebounds per game in the regular season at Kentucky, which is amongst the best in the nation.
When making a current NBA comparison, Zach Randolph comes to mind. Much like Z-Bo, Randle is a slightly undersized power forward who plays much bigger than he is. True grit and force have allowed both players to make a name for themselves, hopefully carrying over into the NBA for Randle. With a legitimate shot at landing him, the Lakers’ dismal season is turning into a positive rather than a total wash. Fans should be excited at the opportunity for some elite young talent to finally pass through town once again.