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Randle is coming off the best season of his career, securing the 2020-21 Most Improved Player award plus a spot on the All-NBA Second Team. He was handed the keys to the offense for the surprisingly competitive Knicks, and the forward averaged 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists in a league-high 37.6 minutes per game. He also made massive strides as a shooter, hitting 2.3 threes per game at a 41.1 percent clip and converting 81.1 percent of his free throws. However, fantasy managers have reason to expect some regression from Randle in 2021-22. One big reason was his complete collapse in the playoffs. He shot a tragic 29.8 percent from the field in five games against the Hawks, and he totaled more turnovers than assists. In addition, the Knicks made splashes in free agency, notably adding Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker. Both players are capable scorers and playmakers, and they'll be taking plenty of touches away from Randle. The result could be Randle taking a step back from the rank of 26 he owned in fantasy on a per-game basis last season. During his lone season in New Orleans, he ranked 53rd on a per-game basis, which might be closer to where he'll trend in 2021-22. Drafting Randle in the second round would be aggressive, but he's likely built up enough good will with fantasy managers to be a popular third-round selection.
Randle's first season in New York went reasonably well after a somewhat uneven start. The 2014 seventh overall pick of the Lakers followed up a spectacular 25-point, 11-rebound double-double on Opening Night with averages of 11.5 points, 10.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists on just 38.4 percent shooting over his subsequent six games before starting to hit his stride Nov. 6 against the Pistons. Randle had just two single-digit scoring duds during his remaining 57 contests, averaging 20.2 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists while shooting a solid 46.4 percent. Despite sharing the frontcourt with the emerging Mitchell Robinson, Randle averaged the second-most rebounds of his career (9.7) and established a new high-water mark in shot attempts per contest (15.7). Randle should remain similarly involved in the 2020-21 season, and the fact the Knicks are expected to roll with a solid ball distributor in Elfrid Payton once again at point guard projects to keep the big man's scoring opportunities plentiful. Randle should once again be expected to serve as a focal point on the offensive end, as second-year R.J. Barrett, who still has room for plenty of development as a shooter, is arguably New York's only other playmaker comparable to Randle at the moment.
The former seventh overall pick in 2014 by the Lakers, Randle spent his first season on a new team in 2018-19, playing 73 games (49 starts) with the Pelicans. He had a career year, posting highs in points (21.4), three-pointers (0.9), steals (0.7) and blocks (0.6) per game, as well as free-throw percentage (73.1). His scoring ability and quality rebounding helped him land a contract with the Knicks, and it seems likely he'll start at power forward for New York. Entering his age 25 season as possibly the best player on the roster, Randle could be primed to take another leap forward statistically. When seeing minutes in the 30s last season, he averaged 24.5 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists while shooting 52.2 percent from the field. Randle also posted 11 games with at least 30 points, including one 40-point effort, plus 32 games with double-digit rebounds and 15 games with five-plus assists. All things considered, Randle should be on everyone's fantasy radar as a potential All-Star in the Eastern Conference.
After a slow start to the 2017-18 season, Randle came on strong to finish the year, boosting his Fantasy stock across the board. He played in all 82 games and ended the season as the Lakers' leader in scoring and rebounding, while shooting an impressive 56 percent from the field. Despite the way he finished the season, Randle was still not assured of his role moving forward and opted to test the free agency waters. The Pelicans clearly liked what they saw from Randle, and he'll step in as Anthony Davis' new frontcourt partner following the departure of DeMarcus Cousins. Teaming with Davis, a fellow Kentucky product, could entail an adjustment process, but the Pelicans aren't overly deep up front, so Randle should see plenty of opportunity. While he'll battle Nikola Mirotic for minutes at the four, Randle is the more natural fit next to Davis, and Mirotic is more than capable of sliding down to the wing in certain lineups. Production-wise, a replication of last season's numbers seems fairly realistic, but it remains to be seen whether Randle will be able to maintain his scoring efficiency. Putting up points and rebounds are what Randle does best, and though he's flashed some improvement on the defensive end, he's not likely to be much of a contributor in blocks (0.5 per game in 2017-18) or steals (0.5 per game).
In what was effectively his second NBA season after a broken leg suffered in his NBA debut limited him to just one game as a rookie in 2014-15, Randle elevated his marks in just about every category except rebounds, averaging 13.2 points, 8.6 boards and 3.6 assists in 28.8 minutes per game while shooting 48.7 percent from the floor. It’s certainly a positive development when a young player shows year-to-year gains in both efficiency and statistical production, though Randle’s growth may have been a little flatter than some expected, particularly on the defensive end. Randle’s lack of rim-protecting skills and inability to lock down rangier power forwards may inhibit his outlook a bit in real-life terms, but he carries much more appeal for Fantasy purposes. Aside from the nearly six-point improvement he showed in field-goal percentage, Randle’s transformation into a playmaker was the most positive development of his 2016-17 campaign. For a player listed at 6-foot-9, Randle showed unusual comfort with handling the ball and finding open teammates, which translated to a nice boost in his assist totals. Among frontcourt players, only Nikola Jokic (six) and Draymond Green (five) ended up with more triple-doubles than Randle, who collected three on the season. With the Lakers adding more outside shooting to the roster this summer in veteran center Brook Lopez, swingman Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and rookie point guard Lonzo Ball, Randle is in good shape to add more assists to his ledger, though the upgraded supporting cast could have a more negative impact on his scoring. Randle must also make further strides on the defensive end to ensure he doesn’t lose out on playing time to the likes of Larry Nance and rookie Kyle Kuzma.
After missing all but 14 minutes of his rookie season with a broken leg, Randle returned to play 81 games in 2015-16, averaging 11.3 points, 10.2 points and 1.8 assists across what was an up-and-down campaign. Randle found himself in and out of former coach Byron Scott’s doghouse for much of the year and didn’t stick in a full-time starting role until February. That didn’t stop him from posting respectable counting stats, but Randle’s 42.9 percent mark from the field fell well below an acceptable level for a power forward. While Randle’s ability to handle the ball in the open court and create off the dribble is intriguing, his decision-making needs work, and it’s unclear how long of a leash new coach Luke Walton will give him. The Lakers also added Luol Deng, Yi Jianlian and Brandon Ingram this offseason to join Larry Nance, all four of whom could see time as small-ball power forwards, potentially cutting into Randle’s minutes load. That said, the 21-year-old Randle remains one of the Lakers’ three best long-term assets, and with the Lakers entering a developmental phase, he’ll likely be given every opportunity to prove he’s capable of holding on to the starting power forward spot long term.
While not technically a rookie, Randle should be considered a first-year player for all intents and purposes, as he played just 14 minutes last season, before succumbing to a fractured right tibia in the season's opening game. In his 2015 Summer League campaign, Randle played just 20 minutes per game in his four games, averaging 11.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.0 steals, and 0.8 blocks while shooting 40 percent from the field and 64 percent from the free-throw line. Not only is Randle recovering from his leg fracture, and may continue to be on a minutes restriction through the season's early going, but the Lakers signed Brandon Bass in free agency to compete with Randle for the minutes at power forward. With coach Byron Scott still in charge, there's a big chance that he favors the veteran option in Bass, which would render Randle as not useful in standard fantasy leagues. Looking back at Randle's stats in his last full season as a freshman at Kentucky, he averaged 15.0 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.8 blocks, and 0.1 three-pointers, shooting 50 percent from the field and 71 percent from the line in 31 minutes. The lack of numbers outside of points and rebounds could limit Randle's fantasy upside for this season, and his potential in dynasty leagues.
The seventh-overall selection of the 2014 NBA Draft was the earliest selection the Lakers have had since picking James Worthy number one overall back in 1982. In fact, when they chose Randle, it marked the first time the Lakers had a first-round selection since taking Toney Douglas in 2009, and even then, Douglas was immediately traded to the New York Knicks. So, with a dearth of young talent on the team, Randle figures to be the face of the future for the storied franchise. Many thought Randle would be carrying a large load this season as the featured player down low, but the amnesty acquisition of Carlos Boozer tempered those expectations somewhat. There's no doubting Randle is the team's future. Last season, in his only season at Kentucky, Randle averaged 15.0 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.5 steals, and 0.8 blocks in 31 minutes per game through 40 games. He shot 50 percent from the field on 9.8 attempts and 71 percent from the line on 7.2 attempts. Over the course of this season, the big man from Kentucky will likely play around 20-24 minutes per night, although he needs to improve his defensive statistics to become an elite fantasy option.