HoopsHype Julius Randle rumors

January 28, 2014 Updates
January 22, 2014 Updates

Ainge has spent the past several months scouting players such as Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins, Marcus Smart, and Julius Randle, players who could impact the future of the Celtics. Ainge has stacked the organization with as many as 17 draft picks over the next five years; 10 could be first-round picks. The next step is to determine how to replenish the roster. The Celtics could decide to build through the draft, free agency, or both, but those Kevin Garnett- or Ray Allen-type deals are extremely rare. All-Star players who can help win championships are not readily available. Those standout players who are — such as Carmelo Anthony or Pau Gasol — most likely aren’t helping their current team win. Boston Globe

January 13, 2014 Updates

This just in: Wiggins is slipping out of contention for No. 1-2. The NBA guys I talk to say that will be Parker and Kansas seven-footer Joel Embiid. At No. 3, Wiggins has yet to separate himself from Kentucky power forward Julius Randle, Australian point guard Dante Exum and, depending on whom you talk to, Arizona forward Aaron Gordon. So Wiggins, whose fame in high school far exceeded Kevin Durant’s at Montrose Christian (it’s in Rockville, Md., if you haven’t heard of it) could miss the top two… or three… or more? “There’s zero chance of any team taking anybody before Jabari Parker,” says an Eastern Conference personnel guy. “And there’s zero chance of any team taking Wiggins before Joel Embiid.” Forbes.com

The entire Class of 2014 has issues with its freshmen under their first real scrutiny from scouts, barred by the NBA from their high school games. Forget LeBron James and Durant, who are beyond anyone on the horizon. No one in this class is as highly regarded as No. 1 picks Anthony Davis (2012), Kyrie Irving (2011), John Wall (2010), Blake Griffin (2009) or Derrick Rose (2008). To get right to it, as a Western Conference personnel guy put it: “If you called up the Pelicans, the Cavs or any of those teams and offered this year’s No. 1 pick for their guy, they’d fall over laughing.” As James was called the first superstar of the Twitter age, Wiggins is the first basketball phenom of the Youtube era. The most watched videos that come up on the site aren’t from his Kansas games, but prep and summer highlight reels. “Andrew Wiggins OFFICIAL Senior Year Hoopmixtape!” got more than 4,000,000 hits. A 2012 video titled, “Andrew Wiggins has SUPERSTAR Potential!!” got 1,700,000. A video of Andrews in Kansas’ Nov. 12 showdown with Duke, which Parker dominated, got 107,000. Forbes.com

Deep as this draft class is, its star quotient is another question. Setting aside comparisons to LeBron James and Durant, who are beyond anyone on the horizon, no one in this class is as highly regarded as No. 1 picks Anthony Davis (2012), Kyrie Irving (2011), John Wall (2010), Blake Griffin (2009) or Derrick Rose (2008). “If you called the Pelicans, the Cavs or any of those teams and offered this year’s first pick for their guy, they’d fall over laughing,” says a Western Conference personnel guy. Forbes.com

January 9, 2014 Updates

The Bucks' biggest need is a power forward who can draw a double-team, which means that Kentucky's Julius Randle will get a long look from them. But the Bucks are also super intrigued with Parker and feel he can play both the three and the four for them. Wiggins and Australia's Dante Exum are also possibilities, but both are riskier picks for a team that needs to show major improvement next years. Parker is the most NBA-ready player in the draft and I think he's the favorite if Milwaukee gets the No. 1 pick. ESPN.com

December 18, 2013 Updates
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While those numbers aren't as strong as those of Randle and Parker, there's more to it than meets the eye. Wiggins is playing a very controlled game on offense. He's scoring within the flow of the game and isn't trying to dominate the basketball. While Randle and Parker are clearly options 1, 2 and 3 offensively for Kentucky and Duke, respectively, Kansas coach Bill Self isn't running every play for Wiggins. In addition, Wiggins already has proved to be an athletic, lockdown defender who can guard multiple positions on the floor. Frankly, it's that part of his game that is tipping the scale toward Wiggins for many scouts. "I think he can be a player that plays a lot like Paul George does," one veteran NBA executive told ESPN.com. "He's so smooth that at times it almost looks like he's coasting. But when you watch closer, you just see the game comes so easy to him. With his length and explosiveness, he's going to be able to do whatever he wants once he gets it. And from everything we can gather in looking into his background, he's going to get it. I'm not sure how we could pass on him if we had the No. 1 pick. The other guys might be more ready right now, but in three years, I think he's the best player in this class." ESPN.com

Besides, most GMs are pretty risk averse when it comes to drafting No. 1. Randle looks like such a sure thing ... how many GMs will stray away from safe? "I think he's the surest thing in the draft," one GM said. "There's nothing he can't do and there just aren't that many bigs in the NBA with that set of skills. He's going to be a 10-time All-Star and will make a major impact on your team in Year 1. Wiggins might have a little more upside and [Parker] is so attractive as well, but if you take someone else, you're really risking your job." ESPN.com

November 19, 2013 Updates

After Wiggins, many scouts have Randle ranked as the next best prospect. This may come as a surprise to some since Parker had become somewhat of a household name in his own right after an impressive high school career, but most talent evaluators love Randle and worry about how Parker will transition to the NBA. The general consensus among scouts is that Randle will have a long, successful NBA career as an elite forward. He has been very consistent at the collegiate level thus far. Through three NCAA games, Randle has contributed 23 points and 15 rebounds in 26 minutes against UNC-Asheville, 22 points and 14 rebounds in 29 minutes against Northern Kentucky and 27 points and 13 rebounds in 35 minutes against Michigan State. HoopsWorld

November 14, 2013 Updates
November 13, 2013 Updates

There are so many ways to sum up Jabari Parker's amazing night here. He outplayed Kansas's Andrew Wiggins, the most hyped freshman in many years. He outshined Kentucky's Julius Randle, a contender for the No. 1 pick in the next NBA draft. His Duke coach, Mike Krzyzewski, said Parker was "sensational," and LeBron James (presumably watching both Wiggins and Parker) tweeted "GM's wish the draft was tomorrow," and ... well, it was incredible on so many levels, but the best summary of Parker's night came from Parker himself. I asked him: How would you grade your performance? He said: "C-minus." SI.com

Randle has an array of left-handed post moves, a juggler's hands, and great touch around the rim. You rarely see that kind of talent, and when you do, the guy who has it usually doesn't know what to do with it. Think of all the freaks at the top of drafts in the last 20 years who just turned out to be good or very good NBA players. Randle is different. "He is relentless to score," Dawson said. "He demands the ball. You really don't see that too much, a freshman coming in that hungry to score. But he wants to score on every possession." SI.com

November 12, 2013 Updates
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Meantime, on the DraftExpress 2014 Mock Draft, Kentucky currently has commits from the No. 2 (Julius Randle), 3 (Andrew Harrison), 9 (Aaron Harrison) and 10 picks (Cauley-Stein). They are also in the hunt for the projected No. 1 and No. 4 overall picks in Andrew Wiggins and Aaron Gordon. The NBA GM also said that Kentucky pledges Dakari Johnson and James Young could be first-round picks next year. “Only question would be if they go high enough to come out based on the numbers they will get with limited minutes, but they are first-rounders,” the GM said. ZagsBlog.com

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