2019 NBA Free Agents: Julius Randle
Orange County Register
Julius Randle just completed his fourth full season in the NBA. Three of these seasons were spent with the Los Angeles Lakers. After LA declined to pick up his option as a restricted free agent, Randle signed with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Randle clearly had the best season of his career last year. He started in 49 of the 73 games he played in. Though they didn't make the playoffs, Randle was a massive part of a Pelicans offense that was the 12th best in the league.
Stats: 21.4 PPG, 3.1 APG, 8.7 RPG, 0.7 STL, 0.6 BLK, 2.8 TOV, 56.4 2P%, 34.4 3P%, 73.1 FT%
Randle is a power forward or small ball center who is equally adept playing with his back to the basket or facing up. His 6'9, 250 pound frame means he is a nightmare match-up for small-ball lineups. Very quick on his feet, he is too fast for a lot of centers and too strong for a lot of power forwards. He gets to the line a ton, and has a few different go-to moves around the basket.
Randle has worked extensively on his jump shot, and is now shooting around league average from three point range. He is at his best when he can exploit mismatches around the rim, but his improving jump-shot opens up his game massively. If he can continue to improve his jumper he will be a lot tougher to guard on the block.
Also an excellent passer, Cleaning the Glass ranks him in the top 14 percentile for his assists at his position. He can operate from the elbow, or in dribble hand-offs to quicker players on the perimeter. As he operates so well in the pick and roll he can pass out of the short roll or kick it out if he is doubled when diving to the rim.
Rebounding is another strength of Randle’s, he is an excellent defensive rebounder. He is also a competent on the offensive glass, too.
Though Randle's jump shot is improving, he needs to work on his shot selection. The long twos that he takes need to be threes, and he needs to go away from his less than effective hook shot. Though the hook shot can be effective in some situations, he only scored on 43% of these last season.
Defense is also something to work on for Randle. He is an adequate help defender, but he can foul heavily at times, either going for steals or biting on pump fakes. Though Randle has the foot speed to stay with guards, he needs to do a better job at sliding his feet and keeping his hands out of the cookie jar. He can block shots at the rim but sometimes leaves the restricted area exposed by leaping for blocks he cant get. While he has all the tools to be a strong team defender its important he tempers his aggression on this end.
Randle is a strong starting power forward option for a playoff team.
Possible Landing Spots
The Dallas Mavericks pose as a possible landing spot for Randle. With Dirk Nowitzki retired and Kristaps Porzingis returning from injury their big rotation is very light. Randle could fit in nicely as a lob target for Luka Doncic.
The Brooklyn Nets could also be a good fit for the twenty five year old Randle. If they luck out in free agency as far as star options go, Randle would work as far as the Nets timeline go. They don't have any power forwards on the roster currently while they have plenty of cap space.
Expected Next Contract
Last year Randle earned an 8.5 million dollar contract. After career highs across the board and a shooting improvement he can expect to see a 4 year contract around the 40 - 50 million dollar range.