Keep 'em comin'. Julius Randle has declared for the NBA Draft, forgoing the rest of his time at Kentucky. This was expected -- most Calipari kids don't come back when they're getting Top 10 money -- but with Willie Cauley-Stein and Montrezl Harrell recently announcing they're sticking around, you never really know for sure. And Randle's inclusion is great news for the Sixers, even if he falls in between their pick and the Pelicans pick.
Primary concerns with Randle have been his baby arms, his defense, and his ability to score at the NBA level the way he did in college. What impresses me most about him is his touch around the basket. For such a strong kid -- and he really is strong as all hell -- he absorbs contact so well and gives the ball a chance to go in. I think he'll be a damn good face up power forward in the NBA. He's a better passer and athlete than people give him credit for. Playing without a real point guard at UK hurt him, as did their spacing issues. Love a lefty, though. Also, damn good smile.
2014 NBA Draft
2014 NBA Draft
If the Sixers end up with him, it will likely mean something has gone wrong. But in a vacuum, he's a very good player, and not necessarily the worst fit next to Nerlens Noel. I spoke at length with The 700 Level about Randle last week. That being said, yeah, let's land in the top 4 please.
A few other announcements -- Elfrid Payton of Louisiana-Lafayette declared for the draft. He is perfect, and I'll hear nothing more about it. As a 6'3 point guard with great defensive skills and great hair, I would not be the least bit surprised if Payton ended up as the best point guard to come out of this draft (ahead of Tyler Ennis and Marcus Smart, because I don't think Dante Exum is a point guard at the next level). He's gonna make some team in the 20s very happy.
Another great athlete with defensive instincts, K.J. McDaniels, will forgo his senior season at Clemson to enter the draft. He had a bit of a T.J. Warren situation at school, in that he was forced to do way too much on a mostly bad team, which clouded how good he was at other things. McDaniels at 10 would be a reach, but he's certainly got an intriguing skill set for a possible trade-back-in to the late teens.