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While it’s very likely that Julius Randle will enter the 2014 NBA Draft, he sent out this tweet to clarify that he hasn’t made an official decision despite a report from Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com that said Randle would declare for the draft.
This weekend, Randle will return home to meet with his family and discuss his decision. Randle is currently being projected as a top-five pick in the draft.
Randle’s stock is climbing after he led Kentucky to the national championship game and put up solid numbers throughout the tournament. Randle averaged 15 points and 10.4 during the season, leading all Division I players in double-doubles. Randolph has drawn comparisons to Zach Randolph and Paul Millsap.
“He’s a man, and he won’t get pushed around by other players,” an NBA scout recently told Basketball Insiders of Randle. “He has the ability to face up and take guys off of the dribble. Right now, he’s left-hand dominant, so he must work on his right hand and keep improving his jumper if he wants to take the next step and really wreak havoc. He should be able to play in the league for a really long time, but the question is how good will he be? People around the league are really interested to see how he measures out – how tall and how long he is. When I look at Randle, I see some Jamal Mashburn and some Paul Millsap.”
The deadline for early entry is April 27, so Randle has some time before he has to make a decision.
It makes sense that the Bulls would want to bring in James and Amundson, two players who are somewhat familiar with Tom Thibodeau and the Bulls’ core. These players shouldn’t have trouble getting acclimated to the team this late in the season and can contribute if called upon, whereas a free agent without any experience in Chicago wouldn’t be very useful to the Bulls in mid-April.
James, who is 38 years old, averaged 1.0 points, 1.5 assists and .6 rebounds in his first stint with the Bulls earlier this season, appearing in 11 games. Last season, James played for the Dallas Mavericks, averaging 6.1 points and 3.1 assists while starting in 23 games.
Amundson played 18 games with the New Orleans Pelicans earlier this season, averaging 2.1 points and 3.1 rebounds before being waived. He only appeared in one game for the Bulls last season and also spent time with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
James and Amundson weren’t on an NBA roster on March 1, so they’ll both be playoff eligible for the Bulls.
Everything that Philadelphia has been through this season will be worth it if they’re able to land a franchise player in the 2014 NBA Draft.
The Sixers are currently 17-61, which is the second-worst record in the NBA behind the Milwaukee Bucks, so they’ll have a top pick in the draft.
There are a number of potential stars in this class including Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid, Dante Exum and Julius Randle.
Not only do the 76ers’ have their own first-round pick, they’ll also have the New Orleans Pelicans’ lottery pick if it falls out of the top five. Philadelphia acquired the pick at last year’s draft, when they sent Jrue Holiday to New Orleans in exchange for the selection and Nerlens Noel.
As Brown said, stars like to play with stars, and acquiring that first star is the hardest. 76ers general maanger Sam Hinkie struggled with this during his time in the Houston Rockets’ front office. For years, the Rockets tried to land a star player but struck out on everyone from Chris Bosh to Carmelo Anthony to Dwight Howard (who later came around and decided Houston wasn’t so bad, but only once James Harden was already in town).
If Hinkie can land a star in this summer’s draft, the rebuilding job in Philadelphia becomes much easier and the 76ers could become an up-and-coming team to watch.
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