Julius Randle can thank ESPN for handing him a little extra motivation a couple of months before the season even starts. The Kentucky product was already a little irked by the fact that he fell to seventh in June’s draft, so being overlooked once again will surely only add fuel to the 19-year-old’s fire.
In ESPN’s forecast for the 2014-15 Rookie of the Year, the media outlet listed Jabari Parker as the most likely player to take home the first-year award. Andrew Wiggins, the number one pick in 2014, came in second, followed by Nerlens Noel and Dante Exum.
While Randle leapfrogged Joel Embiid (who is currently recovering from injury), Aaron Gordon and Marcus Smart, who were all drafted ahead of him in June, the big man could have arguably been placed in the top three players due to his apparent NBA-readiness.
However, there is a possibility that voters took Randle’s new coach into consideration.
Byron Scott has made it clear that Randle will have to earn his minutes in order to play, and the rookie will be going up against the likes of Carlos Boozer, Ed Davis, Jordan Hill and Ryan Kelly when it comes to being allocated time at the power forward position during his debut season.
The rankings were compelled by ESPN’s Forecast team who were asked to “rank its top three choices for 2014-15 rookie of the year, with a first-place vote receiving five points, a second-place vote receiving three and a third-place vote receiving one,” according to the website.