Julius Randle: “I Don’t Want To Be The Next Shaq. I Want To Be The Next Kobe”

Rookie Julius Randle always struck us as a bruising power forward, more in the vein of Shaq than any other Laker great; he’s a player with a butt that could back down just about anyone at the college level. We’ll see if that power translates to his first NBA season after being selected by the Lakers with the seventh pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. But Randle — after showcasing some nice body control on some coast-to-coast jaunts last night in LA’s win over Portland — has a different apotheosis in mind.

Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times offers up proof Randle has different aspirations than we might expect based on his big body and body of work:

That’s right. Randle wants to be Mamba 2.0. His love of Kobe Bryant isn’t new, either. He posted a pic to his Instagram after being selected by the Lakers showing a young Randle rocking Mamba’s old No. 8 jersey.

Randle did show off some impressive moves while putting up a team-high 17 points (7/10 from the field and 3/4 from the stripe) while grabbing eight rebounds in LA’s 94-86 win over the Blazers last night. At one point he snatched a board and dribbled all the way to the other end, making sure to hold his hefty, 6-9, 250-pound frame in check enough to avoid the offensive foul and finish with the off-hand layup.

That’s a pretty impressive display of restraining his momentum enough to finish and avoid the foul. He also threw a pretty snazzy no-look dime to fellow rookie Jordan Clarkson.

Though Kobe isn’t exactly known for his vision on the court (unless you count his tunnel vision at the end of close games), he did show off his passing skills the other night.

Despite his love for LA’s current elder statesman, you can be sure Bryant isn’t going to let Randle rest on his laurels. For now, though, Lakers fans should just be happy their top draft pick has such lofty goals. Whether he’s a more punishing low-post threat, like Shaq, or a gifted perimeter scorer, like Bryant, both comparisons work for fans. Maybe he can even be a little bit of both.

(video via GD’s Latest Highlights)

Is Randle more Kobe or Shaq?

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