Since the Lakers ended up with the seventh pick overall in the draft, there have been a few different prospects linked to them. Noah Vonleh, Marcus Smart, and Aaron Gordon are all possibilities, but one constant has been Kentucky power forward Julius Randle.
Randle, by all accounts, is one of the five best prospects in this draft and the Lakers getting him at seven would be a steal. Unfortunately, news recently came out that Randle could need surgery on a broken foot that didn’t heal properly.
Randle denied these claims himself, but it still could worry some teams if Randle has recurring foot issues. The Lakers, especially, have dealt with a plethora of injuries over the past two seasons. Could something like this change their view on a top prospect?
It should also be noted that should Randle need the surgery, he would only be out for 2-3 months, and likely will be ready for training camp. So with that said, we asked our panel of experts, if Julius Randle does need surgery for a foot injury, does that drop his stock in your eyes? This is what they had to say:
Ryan Ward (@Lakers_Examiner): Julius Randle potentially needing surgery could make him available at seven. Despite that fact, I believe the Los Angeles Lakers should stay away from the Kentucky standout after news of this foot injury.
Much like with Joel Embiid (back), injuries this early may be a sign of things to come and the last thing the Lakers need at this point is a lottery pick that doesn’t pan out due to injury problems.
Randle is a solid player with a skill set that may transcend to the NBA level. Slightly undersized for his position at 6’9″, but chances are favorable that Randle could be a force to be reckoned with.
At this point in time, I’m in favor of the Lakers selecting Aaron Gordon with the seventh pick or making a trade to bring in a proven veteran to help bolster the frontcourt.
Suki Thind (@TheRealSuki): I don’t believe it drops his stock — at least not much, anyway. Unless a team is looking for him to make an immediate impact and play in the regular rotation off the bat, then his value shouldn’t go down. He’s obviously young enough to where most surgeries wouldn’t be much of a setback in his career, either.
He’ll certainly miss out on being able to improve in summer league, but if he misses time in training camp and/or the preseason, he’ll be missing out on a valuable portion of his professional learning curve.
However, sometimes it’s a blessing in disguise when young players have to sit back and observe the game, as they’re able to see the game from a different perspective — more specifically the perspective of their new coaches.
The bottom line, though, is that I don’t anticipate his stock dropping if he ends up needing foot surgery.
Corey Hansford (@TheeCoreyH): The possibility of a foot surgery definitely worries me, especially from a big man like Julius Randle. But Randle has too many positives going his way for that to make me want to pass him up at seven.
If the surgery were to knock him out for longer than I might be more inclined to pass, but he would likely be ready by training camp.
Randle is one of my favorite prospects in the draft. A brute at the power forward position with an NBA-ready body and the ability to score and rebound on the block. With the Lakers having a huge need in the front court, Randle would be a perfect addition to the team.
There is always the possibility that this injury could be something to linger, but the chances of that seem to be minor. Randle could be one of the best players in this deep draft, and I believe his stock should not drop because of this.