Editor’s Note: As we get closer to the draft, it’s time to talk about possible draft picks for the Hornets. Over the next month, we will preview guys that could end up going to the Hornets at either picks number 9, 24, or 45, culminating in two mock drafts. Also during this time span, we will preview other options the Hornets have such as trading picks or available free-agents. Stick with us for original analysis and predictions all summer long!
Player Essentials: Julius Randle
Strengths: At 6’9” and 250 pounds, Julius Randle possess the perfect size for an NBA power forward. While he doesn’t have the explosiveness to play above the rim, he has the physical toughness and length to make him a great rebounder, averaging 10.4 boards per game last season at Kentucky. Contrary to many of the players that we have previewed thus far, Randle is one of the few who has the perfect build to play his projected position at the NBA level.
In addition, I’m in love with Randle’s skills and finesse offensively. Not only can the big man score from inside the painted area with an array of jump hooks, pump fakes, and spin moves, but Randle can also handle the ball effectively, pushing the basketball up the court in fast-break situations. At times, he almost appears to be a giant guard taking the ball up the court. Meanwhile, all of this offensive skill can be seen in his college stats, averaging 15.4 points a game last season as a freshman at Kentucky.
Finally, the former Wildcat can hold his own defensively down low at the power forward position. While he will never be a great shot-blocker at the next level, Randle always seems to be in a great defensive position on tape, which is certainly an encouraging sight for NBA GMs.
The biggest knock on Julius Randle is his susceptibility to turnovers, averaging an alarming 2.5 turnovers a game last season at Kentucky. Some of these turnovers in college can as a result of his poor passing ability and selfishness, but as he gets accustomed to playing with better talent in the NBA, he might become more selfless as time goes on. Overall, while some of his averages in the miscue department are certainly staggering, this is an issue of his game that can be fixed with some good coaching at the next level.
While Randle’s offensive abilities around the basket are tremendous, he doesn’t have that respectable jump shot that so many NBA power forwards frequently rely on. While Randle will still be able to score plenty of points by posting up, his lack of shooting ability might lead to defenses overplaying the big man to limit his inside shots.
Overall, while it’s unlikely the Randle will fall to Charlotte at the number nine slot, I would undoubtable pull the trigger on the Kentucky product if he manages to fall in the draft, as Randle should be a fantastic NBA talent because of his size, defensive ability, and offensive creativity in the low-block. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a true believer in Josh McRoberts, but Randle is too good of a player to pass up on if available.
Lead Hornets Writer: Jonathon Hoppe