EL SEGUNDO, CA-The Los Angeles Lakers needed a stud. They got one in the 2014 NBA Draft when they selected Kentucky big man Julius Randle. After the few past seasons with a lot of uncertainty swirling around the personnnel of the team, the Lakers seemed to have gotten it right with Randle.
The guy is big, versatile, play by force in the paint and can get out on the perimeter. Consistency and stabilization is what the Lakers have been what the Purple and Gold has been about for decades until the last couple of seasons. Randle gives the Lakers roughly about 10 years of both if he stays healthy and turns into the player people expect.
On being taken by the Lakers with the seventh overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Randle revealed his initial thoughts on being selected by the global revered franchise.
“I was excited. It’s an organization that I wanted to go to,” Randle said during a conference call with Los Angeles media. “It couldn’t have been a better situation for me. I’m just excited to get back started there.”
The 6-foot-9, 250 Randle is even more exuberant about having the opportunity to play alongside the Black Mamba better known as Kobe Bryant.
“It’s going to be amazing,” Randle said. “Also being with Kobe, I grew up a huge fan of Kobe; he was always my idol, my favorite player growing up. Now I have a chance to pick his brain and learn a lot from him. I couldn’t ask for a better situation.”
Randle is all power and muscle. This is just what the Lakers need to to blunt off the top teams in the NBA Western Conference. When one sees Randle play, Memphis power forward Zach Randolph immediately come to mind: an unstoppable force around the basket.
However, Randle sort of brushed away any comparison between the two players much the same way he flicks off an opponent trying to ride his back on the block.
“Honestly, I’m my own player. I try to be myself,” Randle said. “I don’t follow my game after anybody…I couldn’t be more humbled to be compared to a great player like him. It’s definitely an honor.”
Randle is a not a total stranger to the Los Angeles area. Before heading off to Kentucky for a year of college ball, Randle and Wildcats’ teammates Andrew and Aaron Harrison took to Venice Beach to play in the Under Armor Elite 24 Game in 2012. So he’s a little familiar with the area. That’s a start. But taking geography lessons about the city is something he’ll learn on the fly. Taking the Laker 101 course might be a little more pressing at the moment.