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NBA Los Angeles Lakers

2014 NBA Draft: Los Angeles Lakers Must Select Julius Randle If Available

Julius Randle Lakers

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have worked out a number of potential draft picks, but have not yet worked out Julius Randle. That’s reportedly about to change as Randle is set for a solo workout where his worrying foot injury will be put to the test.

Should Randle come through the workout unscathed and produce the skills and athleticism he is capable of, he is a must for the Lakers if he is available to take with the seventh pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.

A big complaint from Lakers faithful during the worst season in franchise history was the lack of toughness down low. The 6-foot-9, 250-pound power forward out of Kentucky can provide a physical presence the Lakers lacked last season from day one.

His physicality and defensive rebounding is reminiscent of Zach Randolph, and like Randolph, Randle is a bully. He uses his body to establish position, and even at just 19 years of age, he will be able to outmuscle enough opposition forwards in the league to get close to the 10 rebounds a game he was getting in college.

Not only will Randle provide a lift in toughness and rebounding, he is no slouch with the ball in his hands, scoring 15 a game at Kentucky. Relying heavily on his strength and NBA-ready body, Randle might struggle initially to score the ball, but an offseason developing a jump shot will see him continue to provide regular double-doubles.

If the Lakers are to re-sign Jordan Hill, as they should, a Hill/Randle front court is an entertaining prospect. The Lakers would automatically be a top offensive rebounding team in the league with this pair. The hustle and defense of Hill along with Randle’s physicality and developing offense is a good place to start for the rebuilding Lakers.

The Lakers need help now. If they fail to secure a superstar by trading the No. 7 pick, the struggling franchise isn’t in a position to wait for a prospect to develop while Kobe Bryant finishes out his career.

Bryant, as do the Lakers, want to win now. It has always been the Lakers’ way. Their best bet is to draft Randle and hope he is the NBA-ready player so many people have said he is.