Realistic Expectations for Julius Randle’s Rookie Season With LA Lakers

Julius Randle has something to prove. Fortunately for the Los Angeles Lakers, the 6’9”, 250-pound power forward drafted seventh overall in last month’s NBA draft gets to prove the critics wrong while wearing purple and gold.

Randle felt, and rightfully so, that he should have been drafted higher.  After the Lakers grabbed the former Kentucky Wildcat, Randle expressed joy but also sounded a warning to the teams that passed on him, via "I think I should've went higher for sure, but, you know, the teams that passed on me will regret it."

Talk about high expectations.  Julius Randle may be 19 years old, but he already sounds like a seasoned NBA veteran with a major chip on his shoulders.

To the delight of Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, Randle slipped all the way down to the seventh spot, perhaps the result of a rumored foot injury that may not have properly healed. 

Per Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times:

He (Randle) was bypassed by two players who couldn't get their teams out of the first weekend of the tournament. He was bypassed by a chronically injured center who might not play for six months. He was bypassed by a kid guard from Australia who never played collegiately, an Oklahoma State guard who can't shoot, and an Arizona athlete who doesn't have a position.

Randle was overlooked in favor of Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid, Aaron Gordon, Dante Exum and Marcus Smart.  The Lakers are confident they got the player they wanted, choosing to pass on such power forwards as Indiana's Noah Vonleh to draft Randle.

Considering their dismal performance last season that saw the defenseless Lakers win just 27 games, expectations for Randle will be high.   But, given that L.A. is in a rebuilding mode, those expectations must be realistic.

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