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Click here for our prospect profile of Randle.
With the 2014 NBA Draft approaching, the Boston Celtics are in a spot they have not been in since 2007, drafting inside the lottery with the sixth overall pick. In 2007 the Celtics traded the number 5 pick, Jeff Green, to the Seattle SuperSonics in the Ray Allen deal. The Celtics may make a trade again this year, but if they decide to keep their top pick, drafting 6-foot-9 power forward Julius Randle from Kentucky could be a solid option.
Randle played just one season at Kentucky, but his freshman year was very impressive. Randle looked to be a man amongst boys, recording the most double-doubles in all of college basketball with 24 and averaging 15 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. Randle could give the Celts a big boost in the paint, especially being teamed up with fellow young big man Jared Sullinger. Randle has a lot of strengths that would help the C’s immediately, but also has weaknesses in his game that need to be improved upon.
Randle is listed at 250 pounds, and already has an NBA body unlike most big men coming out of college. Randle is also left handed – a skilled big man is becoming a rare asset to find in the NBA, and a left-handed one is rarer. Randle is a tenacious rebounder both on defense and offense, and has very good quickness and agility for someone his size. He’s also an above-average free throw shooter for a power forward, and he has the potential to live at the line in the NBA. Randle is pretty effective and tough to handle when he is operating in the post, and his ball-handling is above average for his position as well.
Randle has to improve on using his right hand more effectively and finishing around the basket, as well as passing out of a double team while in the post. Randle is okay defending his own man, but must work on rotations in a team defense concept. While he improved his shooting range over the course of his freshman year, if he is able to refine his shooting more, he will become even more effective facing up his man, as well as in the pick and roll.
If the Celtics decide to keep their number six overall pick and have a chance to draft Randle, they should oblige and take him. Randle not only will help the Celtics become better immediately, he has the potential to be a more athletic Zach Randolph.