Tag Archives: Julius Randle

NBA Rookies

Top Five Rookie Forecast for the 2014-15 NBA Season

Each year as the start of the new NBA season approaches will always look to the draft to see which players will be successful and which ones are lucky to be drafted. There is still a draft pick or rookie that will make an instant impact each year and will make his statement for the rookie of the year. This year is no different. There are a few rookies that have been drafted that stands out above the other rookies. You can look for the following names to be mentioned when it comes to rookie expectations.

JPJabari Parker was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks and is currently playing forward. In his October 9 outing against the Detroit Pistons he put up 11 points and added three rebounds with one assist and one still. That was with 31 minutes of playing time. He has been used at both forward positions but still a question as to where he will be positioned during the regular season. No matter where Coach Jason Kidd will place him in the lineup look for Jabari to be a huge contributor and make a nice run for the rookie of the year.

Nerlens Noel is having a somewhat rough start to the season. Being drafted by the Philadelphia 76’ers to play forward and center he does have the potential to be a strong defensive presence in the NBA. After playing in the first two preseason game for the 76’ers, he is listed as day to day while he is nursing an injured right thigh. Look for Noel to be healthy for the regular season and to improve the more he plays.

Andrew WigginsAndrew Wiggins showed why he was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves when he scored 11 points by shooting 5 for 10 from the field against the 76’ers on Friday night. He also added three rebounds. Three of his eleven points came from one three-pointer. Playing at guard and forward he will go through some slumps as does everyone else but look for him to put together a streak of consistency playing an average of thirty minutes per game.

Dante Exum, a rookie guard for the Utah Jazz played twenty-nine minutes in his October 8 outing off the Jazz bench. He was a little rusty only hitting one of his five shots. This won’t last long because he will have to improve to gain some sharing time with starting point guard Trey Burke. He will have to develop his ball skills to make his run at rookie of the year. Exum is one to keep an eye on throughout the year.

Julius Randle a rookie forward for the L.A. Lakers will have to make some adjustments if his last outing on Friday night is any indication of what is to come from this rookie. He only played eighteen minutes and shot a low 4 out of 12 from the field. The Lakers will move the ball around a lot, and Randle needs to get used to the ball movement so he will learn his placement on the court. He will need more playing time to develop his confidence. But he will get better and make a strong push during his 2014-15 season year.



According to Google Trends Andrew Wiggins is getting the most interest by NBA Fans!

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Chris M.

Three things to watch as the Lakers enter training camp

The Lakers enter training camp with a new head coach, largely the same roster as a year ago, and uncertain expectations. While the team they share the STAPLES Center with, the LA Clippers, enter the year a big national story and a potential NBA title contender, the Lakers enter the second year of a massive rebuild.

Here’s a look at three things to watch as the Lakers enter training camp:

Kobe Bryant LakersCan Kobe Bryant and Nash stay healthy? Last year was largely a wasted one for both Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. Bryant never did quite come back from the torn Achilles he suffered in the playoffs the previous year, suffering a knee injury shortly into his comeback. Nash, a former two time MVP who was signed two years ago along with Dwight Howard with the hopes of bringing the Lakers a championship, has never been healthy as a Laker. The word out of the Lakers camp is that both players are in great shape and feel confident about the upcoming season. How long that health will last is the big question. Nash is forty and Kobe is on his way to forty. Both players are first-ballot Hall of Famers and greats at their respective positions. What they have left in the tank will dictate how much the Lakers are able to contend this upcoming season.

LinsanityCan Jeremy Lin re-emerge? The Lakers essentially replaced Jordan Farmar with Jeremy Lin. Lin, who burst onto the scene three years ago with the New York Knicks, earning a big contract with the Houston Rockets, has struggled the last couple of seasons. His inconsistent play had him fall out of favor in Houston, leading to his acquisition by the Lakers. If Lin can re-capture the form that made him the talk of professional basketball the Lakers will have a good compliment to Nash and an upgrade at the point guard position. Last season the Lakers suffered such an incredible glut of injuries at the point guard position that they never really had any semblance of consistency. If Nash can stay healthy and Lin can provide a steadying force the backcourt situation should be more settled.

LA Lakers Julius RandleCan Julius Randle have a breakout rookie season? Of all the members of the heralded rookie class, Julius Randle might have found himself in the most advantageous position. The Lakers are badly in need of young talent, especially athletic interior players that can make an immediate impact. While Bryant will remain option number one in Los Angeles, Randle has an immediate opportunity to seize big minutes and a major role on the team right off the bat. The key for the former University of Kentucky star is to get off to a fast start in training camp and take hold of a key role in the frontcourt, whether it be a starting position or the first option off the bench. Randle surprised many in the Las Vegas Summer League with his ability to handle the basketball, displaying a skill set that may earn him minutes at small forward as well as his more natural power forward.

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What’s the plan after Kobe retires?

Kobe Bryant is one of the league’s greatest players of all-time. Kobe Bryant LakersHe is entering his 19th NBA season this fall and has been to the All-Star Game 16 times in his illustrious career. Tack on five NBA Championships, two NBA Finals MVPs and one regular season MVP and Bryant is a surefire Hall-of-Famer. The past two years have been rough for the 36-year-old though. He has suffered two serious leg injuries including a torn Achilles and a fractured knee. To make matters worse, the Lakers are coming off a season in which they won only 27 games, and things don’t look much better this year unless vintage Bryant comes back. With a poor supporting cast and an ageing star coming back from serious injuries, the Lakers don’t appear to be building for the future or winning in the present. Bryant is expected to retire in two years, and the summer of 2016 has several NBA games starts becoming available in free agency. The Lakers are hoping some of those stars can get past the losing ways of recent and head to the attractive destination of Los Angeles.

Was Kobes contract worth it

KOBE

Last season, Bryant was coming back from a torn Achilles and all signs pointed to him being physically beautiful. The Lakers were coming off a summer in which Dwight Howard bolted town for the Houston Rockets, but if Bryant was healthy, they were expected to be in the playoff hunt. He struggled initially coming back from injury just because he hadn’t played in game action for a while. In his 10th game of the year, though, he went down with a fractured knee and the Lakers season went up in flames. Add in injuries to Pau Gasol, and Steve Nash and Los Angeles were trotting a team of street free agents on the court. The results weren’t good. This offseason, they re-signed Jordan Hill to a two-year deal and drafted University of Kentucky big man Julius Randle with the seventh overall pick. The cupboard is still quite bare though and asking your ageing superstar to turn back the clock and win games on his own after the devastating injuries he’s suffered unrealistic.

Los Angeles has always gotten by on their team history, spotlight, and beautiful weather in Southern California. Free agents loved that about the Lakers. That doesn’t appear to be the case anymore. Howard and Pau Gasol have left town during the last two offseasons. Unless Randle becomes a star in the next two years, it’s hard to expect any prominent free agents to come to town because the Lakers aren’t an attractive winning destination.

Kevin Durant, Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Nicolas Batum, Brook Lopez and Mike Conley are among the free agents that will hit the market in the offseason of 2016. Fellow Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James and Kevin Love could even hit the market if they opt out of their contracts. The summer of 2016 is gearing up to be one of the best in recent years, and the Lakers will have plenty of cap room. However, without a plan for the future in place and the ability to win immediately, they may have to settle for the remaining free agents.

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No matter what the next two seasons are going to be interesting ones for the Los Angeles Lakers, Lakers Fans and Kobe Bryant himself! Chris M.

Which NBA Rookie will be the most impressive this season?

The Las Vegas Summer league gave us a very first impression of the “new blood” which will be released in the veins of the teams around the league. We’ve already seen some great performances from the top prospects, the players who entered the league at the top spots of the 2014 NBA Draft. So, who will be the most impressive rookie next season? Let’s examine a few of those youngsters.

NOEL Rookie

NOEL


No.1: Nerlens Noel

Now, Noel is not actually a rookie. He was selected at the sixth overall spot of the 2013 draft after lots of rumours and mock drafts placed him at the top of the draft. Now, after missing the entire 2013 – 2014 season due to an injury, Noel has already shown some great signs during the Summer League. He is making his presence felt and he will definitely be one of the top candidates for Rookie of the Year award next season.

No.2: Andrew Wiggins

WIGGINS

WIGGINS

We still don’t know in which team Andrew Wiggins will be playing next season. We assume he will be playing in Cleveland, alongside – or behind – LeBron James, if he doesn’t end up getting traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Kevin Love. What we do know for sure is that Wiggins will be one of the top young players next season, if not the best one. In Las Vegas, he has showcased just a few of his skills and of course his insane athleticism. At the moment Wiggins seems to be the most impactful player out of the 2014 rookie class.

No.3: Jabari Parker

PARKER

PARKER

Parker was considered as the most NBA-ready player to enter the NBA this summer. During the Summer League, he didn’t manage to prove that but of course, he put up great numbers. He will definitely have a unique chance to shine in Milwaukee, as the Bucks are in rebuilding mode and they will offer Parker plenty of minutes, most probably a starting job, too. Parker and Wiggins will have an opportunity to steal the show next season, with Joel Embiid sidelined, at least at the first part of the 2014 – 2015 season.

No.4: Dante Exum

EXUM

EXUM

Exum entered the league this summer being one of the biggest mysteries of the 2014 draft class. Although Exum didn’t really make that much of a difference during the Summer League, he will get much playing time with the Utah Jazz. So, we can expect a gradual improvement of his performance through the season and numbers even better than the ones he put up in Las Vegas.

Other prospects – underdogs

It will be a surprise to see the Rookie of the Year award to be handed to a player out of those top four prospects. However, there are some dark horses in this race. One of those is Los Angeles Lakers’ forward Julius Randle. The 6’9” youngster was projected to have a significant role in the Lakers’ rotation next season but the recent additions of Carlos Boozer and Ed Davis will make this a bit more difficult.

Elfrid Payton from the Orlando Magic is another prospect who is causing lots of pairs of eyes pointing towards his direction. He did record some notable performances during the Summer League and he will, too, have a great chance to shine next season in Orlando.

Google Trends for the last 90 days shows Andrew Wiggins leading in internet searches.

What can Boozer bring to the Lakers?

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LAKERS

Finally, After several weeks of misery since the 2013 – 2014 season ended, the Los Angeles Lakers can see a positive turnaround in their offseason performance. The Lakers claimed the 32 – year old Carlos Boozer off waivers and he will now join Kobe in LA. Boozer was just recently waived by the Chicago Bulls, who brought in the former Laker Pau Gasol. The former All-Star was in the books for $16.8 million for the Bulls. But what can Lakers fans expect from Boozer next season? Will he manage to fill in for Gasol and even reach a star level?

First of all, Boozer was a starter a few years ago. When he signed with the Chicago Bulls in the summer of 2010, he was projected to be the next big thing in Chicago. His game did have some limitations, but in overall, he was considered as one of the top power forwards in the league.

His performance gradually dipped in Chicago, and last season, with no Derrick Rose around, he averaged 13.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 45.6 per cent shooting from the floor. Those are no superstar numbers of course and considering the fact that Boozer even lost his central contributor role in Chicago’s frontcourt from Joakim Noah, it becomes apparent that he was a star in decline up to last season. Bulls’ head coach Tom Thibodeau ended up benching Boozer in favour of Taj Gibson, who gave more energy to the team when he stepped foot on the court.

Now, however, in LA, he will have a unique chance to revamp his career. Playing alongside Kobe Bryant and Jeremy Lin, in a team which desperately needs some star power, Boozer will be able to prove that he has some basketball left in his tank. He will instantly take over as a starter for the Lakers, and he will most probably see much playing time.

The Los Angeles Lakers now already have three power forwards, Boozer, Ed Davis and the rookie Julius Randle. Jordan Hill was also re-signed, and he will eat up some minutes from the other big men. It will be interesting to see how the Lakers will handle the playing time of each player of their front lone, as they will have to balance the minutes of both the younger guys and the veterans.

In overall, Boozer’s addition is a great one for the Lakers. LA didn’t manage to land a superstar like LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony this summer. And with no trade chips to initiate a trade for Kevin Love, the Lakers had to turn their interest into other players and of course, take some risks. That’s what they did when they agreed to acquire Jeremy Lin from the Houston Rockets, and that’s what they did now in the case of Boozer. The 32 – year forward will hopefully play better than the previous season and hopefully provide much help to the Lakers next season. The puzzle is gradually taking shape in LA. Chris M.

Who Should The Lakers Draft?

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The NBA held their annual draft lottery Tuesday night prior to the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers Eastern Conference Finals game. In another bit of incredible luck the Cleveland Cavaliers won the top overall pick, giving them the option to pick between Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid. The Los Angeles Lakers, coming off one of the worst regular seasons in franchise history, will have the seventh pick in the upcoming draft. The Lakers had a 20% chance of getting the top overall pick, but that didn’t happen and now they’ll have to settle for a mid-lottery pick. The good thing about the 2014 draft is that it’s not an ordinary draft, with a deep pool of talent to pick from. Here’s a look at a few players that may be available when the Lakers pick seventh.

Aaron Gordon

GORDON

Aaron Gordon: The former Arizona Wildcat star has been speculated by many as a potential option for the Lakers. Although he possesses a raw offensive game, Gordon is an absolute physical freak, with a high basketball IQ and a polished defensive game. Gordon was one of the top individual defenders in college basketball this past season, with the lateral quickness to defend out on the court and the leaping ability and size to guard people in the post. He’s a strong rebounder and shot blocker. Gordon is limited offensively but is one of the rare types of players who can be a major factor in a game on defensive play and rebounding alone. Due to his leaping ability many like to compare Gordon to Blake Griffin, but at this point, Gordon’s offensive game has a long way to go to compete with the LA Clippers superstar. During the recent draft combine Gordon led all prospects in the “shuttle run” drill that tests quickness and the ability to change direction. Gordon was the only non-guard to finish in the top ten. Gordon had the top big man vertical leap at the combine, at 39 inches, indicative of his off-the-charts athleticism. Gordon’s vertical leap was the third highest ever for a player his size. Adding to Gordon’s value is the fact he measured at 6’9” in shoes, with a 6’11” wingspan. According to ESPN NBA draft expert Chad Ford, Gordon impressed teams in the interview process. One potential major barrier to drafting Gordon is the rumour that the Celtics, drafting 6th, are enamoured with Gordon’s potential.

Noah Vonleh

VONLEH

Noah Vonleh: The former Indiana forward is one of the drafts highest risers. Vonleh had excellent athletic numbers at the combine, with a 37” vertical leap, as well as incredible measurements that include a 7 foot 4 ½” wingspan and the largest hands in the draft. Vonleh has a solid offensive game for a young player with the potential to be a difference maker offensively much faster than Gordon. Vonleh had a solid freshman year but was lost in the shuffle on an under-achieving Indiana team. He didn’t receive nearly as much attention as some of the more excited players in the draft, like Julius Randle of Kentucky. Depending on how the draft unfolds the Lakers may have an opportunity to draft Vonleh, giving them a talented young power forward. The other big question is whether or not the chance to sign or trade for Kevin Love will dictate who they take in the draft. Minnesota ended up with the 13th pick in the draft, a bit too late to select an impact player. The Timberwolves could be potentially interested in moving love to a team like the Lakers if they can get a player like Vonleh, Gordon or Julius Randle back to replace Love.

Julius Randle

RANDLE

Julius Randle: The much ballyhooed Kentucky forward had a solid freshman year, but has fallen a bit in the draft projections behind Wiggins, Parker and Embiid. Randle has good size and an NBA ready frame. He had strong athletic numbers at the combine, albeit slightly below that of Gordon and Vonleh. Randle has a much more refined offensive game compared to Gordon but is not nearly the defender of the former Arizona star. If the Lakers are looking for a go-to power forward that can score in the paint, Randle is their guy. Vonleh probably has more upside due to his ability to shoot from the perimeter and room to grow as a player. Like Vonleh and Gordon, Randle would be an interesting piece to move in a trade to the Timberwolves for Kevin Love, giving Minnesota an instant replacement for their superstar.

Marcus Smart

SMART

Marcus Smart: Smart is an interesting player. If he had come out a year ago, he was a definite high lottery pick. Smart came back and had an up and down season including a high profile dispute with a fan that got home suspended this past season. Smart tested extremely well at the combine athletically, with a huge wingspan, great quickness and a big vertical leap. Smart is an unquestioned talent, but he may not be ready to be an instant contributor. Many teams question his maturity, due to his on the court issues.

Zach LaVine

LAVINE

Zach LaVine: The former UCLA guard is one of the big wild cards in the draft. LaVine is a high riser who was a late bloomer in high school before coming to UCLA and putting together impressive stretches during his freshman season. His athletic ability is off the charts, almost Russell Westbrook-like. According to multiple draft experts, LaVine looked extremely capable in the Chicago draft combine, handling the ball well and shoot extremely well in drills. From a sheer upside potential, LaVine is a potential superstar, albeit extremely raw. Seventh may be a bit early to select the former UCLA Bruins guard, but he may be worth the gamble.

The seventh pick in the draft isn’t typically seen as an impact spot, but this June’s draft is unique. Whether the Lakers are looking for an instant asset or a player who can be used as trade bait they’ll have several attractive options, with multiple players who can contribute immediately.