With the February 18 deadline fast approaching, the Lakers front office faces difficult decisions. Among them is whether to trade Julius Randle, according to latest NBA Trade Rumors
Randle, who was drafted with the seventh pick in the 2014 Draft, has started to come into his own over the last 10 games. After an impressive double-double showing against Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, Randle had another solid outing in the win against New Orleans Thursday night.
Mid-range jumper falling…
The positive news for Laker Nation is that Randle’s suspect mid-range jumper is finally falling. There was never any doubt about his rebounding and post-scoring ability. But his inability to effectively stretch the floor is a massive problem in the modern NBA.
Randle has developed an effective hook shot and his ball-handling skills are really impressive for a 6″9′ power forward. However, Randle still struggles to finish at the rim when crowded with defenders. Unless he learns to become ambidextrous, there’s a feeling that good rim protectors will always trouble him.
There are still major question marks over Randle’s defensive versatility. Coach Byron Scott is still optimistic about Randle’s progression. “I think his progression has come along nicely. We had a good little talk yesterday about some of the things that I want him to continue to get better at. He takes those things to heart. He’s trying to put them into play,” Scott said Wednesday.
Randle is averaging 11 points and 9.7 rebounds from 50 games this season, including 19 double-doubles. On paper, those are very impressive numbers.
Larry Nance Jr more NBA-ready….
Randle, who has started in 29 of the 50 games this season, had lost his starting role to Larry Nance Jr. before the Wyoming rookie went down with a troublesome right knee.
Credit to Randle who has returned to the starting unit with a vengeance, tallying six double-doubles since taking Nance’s place on January 17. Despite Randle’s steady numbers, most coaches and insiders reckon that Nance Jr. is more NBA-ready. There is a sense of calmness about him, not to mention his defensive ability and freakish athleticism.
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Nance Jr. is expected to return to the team after the all-star break. Nance’s return will most likely propel Scott to bench Randle, again. Wouldn’t that hamper Randle’s development? Don’t forget Brandon Bass is still eating into minutes that could be distributed between Nance and Randle.
If surrounded by good talent, Nance Jr. is the ideal player at the 4 spot and can emulate the great Robert Horry – who was an integral part of the Lakers’ three-peat championship era (2000-2002).
By trading Randle, the Lakers can likely secure a more NBA-ready prospect with all-star potential. Or are they better off waiting for Randle to develop a more potent post game?
Stay tuned for more NBA Trade Rumors.