The 2014 NBA draft netted the Los Angeles Lakers two new additions; former heralded freshman from the University of Kentucky, Power Forward Julius Randle with the seventh overall pick. In the second round the Lakers acquired former university of Missouri point guard/ shooting guard Jordan Clarkson for cash drafted with the 46th pick by the Washington Wizards.
Not one NBA team drafted a finished product or complete player, but the Lakers accomplished their mission by adding talent to their roster. The 19-year old Julius Randle is a good fit with the Lakers despite rumors that he needs surgery on the same foot he broke and had a screw inserted into in high school. Rumors that Randle himself quickly shot down and continued to rebuff in the weeks leading up to the NBA Draft.
The reasoning behind the rumors is a team doctor felt that the surgically repaired foot has not healed properly. Randle felt that the rumors floated by an unknown team in the hopes that Randle would fall out of the lottery. Odd rumors considering the fact that Randle played about a full regular season, SEC Tournament and NCAA Tournament since his surgery. Even if the rumors are true and surgery is eventually necessary Randle is worth the risk.
The selection of Randle, who wowed the Lakers in multiple workouts, is a solid one with the former Kentucky Wildcat admitting to being a fan of Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. Randle is 6' 9" 248 lbs. with a 7' wingspan, 8' 9.5" standing reach, 35.5" vertical jump. Randle played in 40 games for the Wildcats averaging 17.5 points per game shooting 50-percent from the floor, 71-percent from the free throw line, and 10.4 rebounds. The Lakers were in need of a long-term, low post threat and in one year of Division I ball Randle proved that he was one of the best scoring and rebounding forwards in college basketball. Randle is an anomaly in today's pick-and-roll; spread the floor, three-point shooting NBA.
Randle is an athletic, versatile power forward that can contribute right away with a prototype NBA body. The former wildcat can score with his back to the basket and has a decent face-up game. Randle is an elite rebounder with an excellent combination of size, strength, quickness and agility. The biggest weakness in Randle's game turnovers (averaged 4.4 per game), attacking double & triple teams, developing his off-hand, he is not an elite defender nor does he have a reliable jumper right now, but at 19 the Lakers will make sure that he develops into a player that will cause fans to say "You can't handle Randle".
The Lakers were after a young point guard and got a steal in 6' 5" 196 lb. former University of Missouri Point Guard/ Shooting Guard Jordan Clarkson. Jordan performed well in multiple workouts while being trained by Drew Hanlen (www.PureSweatBasketball.com). Several people felt that Clarkson would be a mid-first round pick fortunately for the
Lakers he fell to the 46th pick in the second round. Clarkson has a 6' 8" wingspan, 8" 2" standing reach and a 38.5" vertical.
Clarkson played in 35 games for the Tigers averaging 17.5 points per game shooting 45-percent from the field, 83-percent from the free throw line, 28-percent from behind the arc, 3.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds. Clarkson is a solid pick-and-roll player who got to the rim in the half court and converted. Clarkson's has good size for the position, good at scoring in transition, attacking the rim, seeing over the defense and can post-up smaller guards.
Clarkson needs to improve his perimeter shooting, point guard skills, on ball defense and learn how to create at the NBA level. The Lakers used the NBA draft to acquire two solid building blocks to make the team more competitive now and in the future.