With his incredible versatility and prowess at both ends of the court, Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green has quickly shot up the rankings ladder and is one of the NBA’s premier talents.
Not only does Green do everything for the Warriors, but he’s also the emotional leader and heart and soul of that team. Last season, he averaged 14 points, 9.5 rebounds, and a staggering 7.4 assists while being an All-Defensive Team selection.
At 6’7ish, Green is an undersized power forward, but he’s singlehandedly been the catalyst for the small ball revolution. Because of him, teams realized that shorter players could be useful if utilized properly. Rarely are guys his size capable of doing what he does, and anyone with a similar play style is going to draw comparisons.
One of those guys is Julius Randle; a 6’9 forward getting ready to enter his third year with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The two spent time together in Las Vegas with USA Basketball–Green was on the National Team; Randle was on the select team. They matched up against each other numerous times, and Randle’s potential led to Green saying nothing but good things about him.
According to Mark Medina of the Orange County Register, Green said that Randle has the chance “to be special” because of his ability to make plays at his size. Randle tips the scale at roughly 250 to accompany his 6’9 frame, and Green and is fine with people comparing the both of them.
Sometimes, Green can come off as cocky or arrogant because he speaks his mind, but he believes that Randle can turn into a better player than him:
“I think he can. I also think he has the potential to be better. With the God-given gifts he has, he has the potential to be better. I’ll continue to grow. I’ll never stop working and I’ll continue to get better. But what is he, 21? That’s a lot of time to continue to grow.”
Randle turns 22 at the end of November and is already a tremendous rebounder–he averaged 10.2 in 81 games with the Lakers last season. He isn’t as well-rounded offensively as Green, nor is he a lockdown defender. In time, those will improve, and Randle has the athleticism to be a versatile scorer and has expanded his arsenal a bit during the preseason.
On defense, Randle isn’t much of a rim protector, but he can battle on the block despite giving up a few inches, and he doesn’t struggle with moving laterally.
Where Randle shines the brightest is with his coast-to-coast ability, believe it or not. Not only is he an exceptional rebounder, but he’s also very comfortable with the ball in his hands, and he can go from baseline to baseline and finish at the rim with no problem.
The most glaring differences are with leadership and creating for others.
Green is one of the NBA’s best leaders, both by example and emotionally. He is the glue that holds Golden State together, and his growth in that area has been the deciding factor in their success.
Randle could certainly take on the leadership role of a young Lakers team, especially with Green as his mentor.
His role as a creator won’t be as necessary as Green with the Warriors since LA has D’Angelo Russell running the point, but he’s shown he can find guys both in transition and the half court.
Follow me on Twitter