We often love to compare players to past and present players based on style of play, build, or their role on a specific team. Sometime the comparisons are spot on and at other times, it’s a bit of a reach. The comparison of Julius Randle to Draymond Green is neither of those. I believe it’s just too soon.
Draymond Green has much respect for Julius Randle which started after Randle yelled out that Green couldn’t guard him following a hard take to the basket.
Following their preseason game, Green expressed his thoughts on Randle’s potential (via Mark Medina of the Orange County Register):
“I think he can. I also think he has the potential to be better,” Green said. “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.”
“The thing about him you can’t teach is his heart,” Green said. “When you have that heart and type of dog in you, you’re going to work. I think he can be really, really, really good.”
Putting these two side by side, I can see where the comparisons makes sense. Two undersized forwards, who are all about heart and hustle. Both of them are versatile in their own right and do specific things very well but it’s too early to make these comparisons.
Entering his fifth year, Draymond Green has improved drastically and has seemed to find his niche in this league. Whether he’s just a “system guy” is for another debate but one thing you can’t knock is his tenacity on defense. That’s something that I don’t see from Julius Randle on a consistent basis. Draymond is so fundamentally sound defensively that it doesn’t matter who he’s going up against. That same fight and determination from Green that we see day in and day out is something that I don’t see from Randle and it’s a huge reason why the Golden State Warriors have been so successful in the past few years.
On the offensive side of the ball, they are similar with the way they can ignite the fast break and get to the basket but where Randle is a huge drop off is his ability to shoot. Draymond Green isn’t the purest shooter in the world but he has the ability of knocking them down. Julius Randle struggles tremendously shooting the ball and that’s something that he’s been working on for the past couple of offseasons. And that’s something that he must continue to get better at if he wants to excel in this league.
I’m not taking anything away from Julius Randle but a lot has to be done before he can be compared to Draymond Green. They both have similarities but Green is way more polished in a lot of areas that I would love to see Randle excel in. Draymond believes that the young Lakers forward could be even better than he is and I don’t doubt that. The ceiling for Randle is very high at such a young age but it’s all about how much work he decides to put in to transcend himself to that level.