DISCLAIMER: The following post is NOT an outright endorsement of Julius Randle as the 76ers 2014 NBA Draft Lottery selection. It is simply a hypothetical idea that crossed my mind last night as I watched Randle and Kentucky play.
Leading up to last night’s big college basketball double-header my thoughts on the 2014 Draft class were that either Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker would be a great fit for the 7-6. As I watched the games last night, those thoughts were quickly confirmed. Both are athletic, fantastic wing players who could step right in and start for Brett Brown. Either one would be a tremendous fit as a draft pick for the Sixers.
So I asked myself the following as I watched Kentucky play Michigan State on Tuesday night, “What if the Sixers aren’t in a position to select one of those two players? What if Hinkie ends up on the clock and Julius Randle is the best player available? Would Randle be a good fit here?”
If we project ahead to the 2014-15 season, it’s almost a certainty that Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner will be gone and that the Sixers first-five will have at least two big holes in it:
SF: Thad Young (potentially)
C: Nerlens Noel
Thus on paper, the selection of Julius Randle — an athletic, physical and skilled power forward — would work very well for the 76ers lineup in 2014-15. Brown can simply pencil him at the starting PF spot from day one. But in reality how would his skill set fit in with the Sixers other bigs (Thad and Noel)? Let’s take a look…
Here’s a what draftexpress.com had to say about Randle during his high school playing days:
– Outstanding athlete in terms of fluidity, agility and explosiveness
– Great first step. Tremendous ball-handler for size, with excellent body control slithering his way around opponents
– Rare combination of finesse and power
– Unstoppable mismatch threat at high school level. Too strong for forwards to handle inside, and too skilled for big men to stop from the perimeter
– Draws fouls, gets to the free throw line prolifically
– Spins, and finishes through contact, bounces off opponents
– Has a back to basket game. Can post up
– Tremendous footwork for a player his age
– Absolutely lethal in transition
– Competes on defense
– Willing to compete inside the paint
– Done a great job with body
– No real fundamentals on defense
– Has the type of body that can get out shape quickly
– Should continue to expand the range on his jump-shot in time. Will make him much more dangerous in the half-court if opponents need to respect him out to the 3-point line.
– Turnover prone at times. Tends to just bully his way to the basket, usually works at high school level, won’t be the same story in college
Extremely unique prospect due to his combination of size, strength, scoring instincts and ball-handling skills. Very difficult to find players with his skill-set, at any level of competition. Has work to do, on the defensive end in particular, but he’s clearly a top-notch prospect for the NBA.
In case you missed last night’s effort by Randle, here’s a look at ALL 27 points (23 in second half, including 16 points in the paint. He also grabbed 13 boards.) Randle put up vs. No. 2 ranked Michigan State:
Based on what I saw from Randle last night, he has only gotten better from his high school days. The freshman absolutely dominated the second half of last night’s game vs. a very good defensive team in Michigan State. His performance led MSU head coach Tom Izzo to describe Randle as “ornery and nasty”. Randle used a variety of post moves, slashes to the rim and strong work on the offensive glass to take over the national spot light in game 1 of the much hyped double-header. Additionally, Randle appeared to be in excellent shape (As one would expect under Coach Cal.). In short it appeared last night that in theory, Randle would be a great addition to any NBA team, including our 76ers.
If Thad is with the 76ers in 2014-15 he will continue to play the role of a “stretch-4” as he is currently doing under Brett Brown. His biggest asset for the Sixers is that he is extremely fast and can get down the court to fill the lanes on the fast break. In the half-court, Thad’s offensive game will continue to rely on his quickness and athleticism to create mismatches where he can put the ball on the floor and score it. Of course Thad will also occasionally flash his 3-point shooting ability as well.
When Noel is healthy and playing, I predict that he will NOT be spending a great deal of time banging with opposing bigs in the low post. He simply doesn’t have build or body type to handle that pounding. I believe that Noel will do most of his damage on the offensive end through put back dunks and finishing the Sixers fast break via an alley-oop slam. With continued help on his stroke from Brett Brown, Noel could eventually throw in the two or three 12-15 footers per night. Think DeAndre Jordan with a better jumper.
Thus, IMO there’s no doubt that a space eating, banger with very good offensive skills like Randle would in reality work nicely at the PF spot alongside Thad and Noel. In fact Randle’s presence in the paint would benefit Thad and Noel as Julius is certain to command a double team and that will provide the other two Sixers bigs with wide open looks or unguarded cuts to the rim. To be honest, Randle appears to be a tremendous fit for the 76ers.
So, if Julius Randle is Sam Hinkie’s selctionon on Draft night 2014, have no fear Philadunkia nation because we could do a lot worse than adding this talented beast.
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