Though it's early in the year, you get the feeling that Julius Randle is going to get his, whether it's against UNC-Ashville or UNC.
He's a kid in a 6'9'', 250-pound muscular body. And it's just amazing what he's able to do with it.
Randle is arguably the toughest offensive mismatch in the country right now. Too strong on the interior and too elusive on the perimeter, he's got an advantage over practically every defender thrown his way.
Though there are some obvious differences, Randle's best-case NBA comparison looks like the inside-outside force that was Chris Webber.
With similar height and weight measurements, Randle also shares Webber's "angry" mentality on the interior.
He's got beast mode easily accessible, along with the "get off me" feature that can really jack up a crowd and team. Randle can be overwhelming in the paint, where he's capable of punishing weaker big men on the glass and at the rim.
Randle mixes his power game with an excellent handle and terrific mobility. Despite his size, coach John Calipari appears to have given him the green light to to push the ball off of defensive rebounds.
Though we're not yet ready to proclaim him the same-level passer as Webber, Randle does have a similar ability to handle the ball in the open floor.
Over time, Webber developed a reliable mid-range game, an area where Randle has shown promise. I'm not sure he'll be able to fulfill it in a one-and-done year, but he's proven to be a capable shooter over the past two high school seasons.
However, both players' ability to play face-up basketball is what really drives the mismatch they present. Opposing big men just don't typically have the lateral quickness to stay in front of them defensively.
Few big men can move like Webber and Randle, but even fewer can do it with the ball in their hands.
Facing the basket, Randle is deceptively quick and slippery. Check out this play, which sees him change direction twice to beat three different defenders for a bucket.
This type of play is ordinary for a wing—not a 250-pound forward. He's got the ability to contort his body and get off clean looks, thanks to tremendous flexibility and body control.
Randle has NBA All-Star upside given how dangerous he can be offensively from so many different spots on the floor. And his tireless motor and competitive edge only increase his appeal as a prospect.
If there's anything to question or really fear, it's that Randle gets a little too carried away with his perimeter game. He's clearly comfortable out there, where he's a threat off the dribble or with the jumper.
But the perimeter game can result in a lower-percentage offensive attack. And when you've got Randle's size, strength and athleticism, you just don't want it to go to waste.
If the gravitational pull between positions sucks Randle towards small-forward territory, we could see a worst-case pro comparison of Lamar Odom.
Both Odom and Randle are big lefties who can rebound, handle the ball, score on the move or shoot outside. But consistency ultimately prevented Odom from becoming the All-Star he had the potential to be.
Defenses are likely going to try and turn Randle into a jump shooter if he gives them the chance. And by operating out on the perimeter too much, he could end up playing right into the opposition's game plan.
Realistically, Randle appears to be a mix of both Webber and Odom. Of course, neither are mirror images, but all three players share similar strengths and physical tools.
There's just so much to like and so little to question with Randle. He's got a high ceiling along with a high basement floor, and offers minimal risk on draft day.
Even his worst-case comparison is a pretty good one. Look for Randle to remain in top-three conversations throughout the year based on his All-Star ceiling and strong chances of reaching it.
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