Yet another prospect who is a little difficult to evaluate at the moment, due entirely to the fact that the Los Angeles Lakers remain the only NBA team without a coach. Julius Randle was drafted into a great fantasy situation regardless of who ends up taking the reins, as the Lakers have about as threadbare a roster as exists in the NBA.
Randle was a double-double machine in his only season at Kentucky, registering the most in all of Division I basketball. That’s great and his rebounding and scoring will be great fantasy helps, but I get the feeling there is a bit of the Zach Randolphs about Randle in that he gives big numbers in two or three categories, but nothing in the other categories. And that, is what pushes those sort of players down draft boards.
Let’s look at what Randle was able to do in Kentucky’s push toward the NCAA Championship final.
As you can see, big scoring, big rebounds, but nothing else. He doesn’t stretch the floor, there are no defensive numbers to speak of and his free throw shooting is below par. But the tantalising thing is that double-double potential. There’ll be nights where Randle goes 15 & 15, but a lot of zeros and ones in the other stat columns and that’s where discernible fantasy owners need to be careful and realise that big numbers in two categories shouldn’t blind you to the value not provided in the other areas.
At the time of writing this, Randle joins Ryan Kelly and Robert Sacre as the only forwards/centres on the Lakers’ roster. That surely will change, but the players who will be added are unlikely to be impact players and Randle looks like a safe bet to be the starting power forward for the season and I’d imagine he’ll play around 35 minutes a night. Randle seems like a genuinely good kid and I wish nothing but the best career for him, I’m just not sold on his fantasy potential unless he starts blocking shots and getting steals.
Here’s my projection for Randle for the upcoming season.
On the surface, 12 and 9 looks like a decent line, but in reality for fantasy, the overall line is not great. Only the rebounds are an above average contribution and everything else is a negative contribution. If Randle was able to outperform this projection and go for 15 & 9 and boost his field goal percentage to 48 percent, he’d be a decent option, but if things turn out like I think, he projects as about a top 150 player. That places him fairly and squarely at the end of 12 team leagues, but I think many owners will get enticed by the potential of double digit rebounds and grab him much earlier, around pick 80. The unknown in terms of his projection is the coach and the pace the team plays at. I’ve projected him to play at about league average which is 94 possessions per game, but if an uptempo coach is installed, Randle could jump up to top 120.
I won’t be taking the plunge at that steep of a price and I don’t recommend that you do either, but I can’t wait to see Randle in action.