Julius Randle: The Good Cousin
Last night something remarkable happened. A revelation of sorts, involving the nutcracker, Draymond Green.
Since Draymond came on the scene as an elite player, he has seemed to be one of a kind. Seemed. But there has always been something about him. Yes he is a polarizing personality with a heat (testicle) seeking toe, but he is also a little…evil. Right? RIGHT?! I mean don’t get me wrong I was Team Draymond all the way during the finals when LeBron baited him into the most famous of the Dray Nut Shots (DNS). However, last night, as the Lakers, that’s right — the Baby Lakers, beat the super villains of the NBA 117–97, we witnessed the moment that solidified Draymond’s evilness.
It wasn’t that Draymond did anything per se. It’s just that Julius Randle did a LOT. With less than 30 seconds in the first half, D’angelo Russell missed short on a floater, with Green draped on his right side, Randle simply tipped the ball up and in with his left, to put the Lakers up by 16. (4:55 into video).
So easy. The southpaw just gives Draymond a dose of his own game, except with a nonchalance that resembles the antithesis of Green’s die-on-the-court-if-I-have-to energetic style.
We always knew that Draymond was the evil cousin, we just didn’t know who was the regular, chill- ass cousin — The Good Cousin. Until now.
At certain points, watching last night game was like watching one cousin (Randle) come over to the other’s (Green) for a Thanksgiving dinner wherein Dray’s mom says “Okay, Dray, why don’t you show Julius around the house. Go show him your toy’s”. Then, when they get to Draymond’s room, he starts showing his calm little cuzzo his stuff and every time he whips out what he thinks is the sickest little toy, Julius replies “Yeah, I have that one too. But mine is gold.”
When you look at the box score from the first Lakers/Warriors matchup of the season, you see two very similar teams in two very different points of their respective franchises. You also see that Green had a +/- of -9 and Randle had a +/- of +9. I am no math wizard, but I do believe that those numbers are opposite in some way.
Previously, Draymond, and others (me included) considered perhaps that Draymond was put on this earth to guard LeBron James in the NBA Finals. No one has the type of tenacity and heart that Green has. But even as Draymond clashes with LeBron, as much as it feels like a great rivalry, it is too obvious that LeBron is in his in class of athlete. It needs to be someone so anti-Draymond that Draymond doesn’t even know that he doesn’t like him yet.
The Lakers have a long, long, long long, way to go to actually become a force in the NBA, but Julius Randle is looking more and more like a Draymond Green in gold, with less emotion and more sleekness. Last season Randle said to reporters, “[Matching up against him] is a great challenge. A great guy to look at as far as what he does and how important he is to their team. A great role model for me (SB NATION)”. As long as he doesn’t continually airball three’s like Draymond has been this season, Julius has a great chance to make America fall in love with The Good Cousin.