Have you ever been walking through the hood when all of sudden you walk past the house with the chained up pit bull in the front yard? The pit bull runs at you full speed before the slack gives up on his chain and he’s yanked back at full force. From where you’re standing you can see the mean streak in his eyes, you can feel his passion oozing out of him just wishing he could get his paws on you. Julius Randle’s game best exemplifies that of a leashed up beast waiting to dominate anything and everything in his vicinity. A beast of a human being trapped inside a young mans body just waiting to hit his dominant peak, barely 22, Randle could already be one of the most gifted rebounders in the NBA.
Hailing as a five-star recruit out of Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano, Texas, Julius Randle went to the University of Kentucky as someone who was destined to be a star. After leading the Wildcats to the National Championship game in his lone collegiate season, Randle declared for the draft and his fairy tale seemed to be writing itself out perfectly. After falling to the Lakers with the #7 pick in the 2014 NBA draft, it seemed like one of Hollywood’s finest writers penned this out especially for Laker Land. The first real building block for the inevitable post Kobe Bryant era. What could go wrong? Welllllll, the story doesn’t get interesting until you add a little twist to it, right? Opening night of the 2014-2015 NBA season, after only 14 minutes of being on the floor Randle fractured his right tibia, forcing him to sit out the remainder of the season.
I tell you this little back story because it’s inspiring to me. Even though Randle has always been one of the best players on the court dating back to high school, averaging 32.5 PPG and 22.5 RPG. In college 15 PPG and 10.4 RPG. There is a certain chip on his shoulder that he plays with, scratch that, it’s a damn boulder. After returning last season and averaging a double-double in his official rookie season, Randle came back with an attitude. You could tell by the way he battled on every single possession that he was playing to prove a point. What that point was? It looked like a man on a mission to prove to the world that he had arrived to the scene. Once a player with Randle’s natural ability locks into that mindset, they become damn near impossible to stop. When they’re 6’9 and weigh 250 lbs, you’re basically at their mercy. What are you gonna do to Julius Randle? KG tried him and he didn’t back down what so ever. You call me what Randle called KG, expect these hands.
When I see Randle play I see a Lamar Odom/Zach Randolph hybrid but much more explosive and athletic than anyone could ever imagine if those two games were mixed. Randolph lacks the fluidity Randle is blessed with, meanwhile, Odom wished he could bang down low and muscle around guys the way Randle does on the regular. Randle is blessed with the speed and power, mixed with genuine basketball skill that most big men will spend their whole life trying to achieve. At 22 years old, Julius Randle looks like he hasn’t even scratched the surface of the kind of player he has the potential to be. Which is scary for a guy who is well on his way to averaging another double-double for the season, meanwhile raising his stats across the board.
D’Angelo Russell is the leader of the franchise and that has never been more evident than these last 10 games he has sat out due to knee soreness. That being said, Julius Randle has solidified himself as the heartbeat of the team. The Lakers get that attitude, that swagger to them from Randle. He brings out that dog in the team like no other player on the team. When you have a player like Randle on your roster the best thing to do is to let him loose and get the hell out-of-the-way. The rest will eventually take care of it self.