Warriors' Draymond Green says Julius Randle can be better than him

Draymond Green is a Julius Randle fan. In between the Golden State Warriors' two preseason games against the Los Angeles Lakers, the All-Star forward said that Randle might end up being even better than him one day, via the Orange County Register's Mark Medina:

Green believes Randle "can be real special," raving about his length, athleticism and playmaking. Green also said he considers the comparisons between him and Randle "cool." Those comparisons have been drawn more frequently with Randle's expected emergence under new Lakers coach Luke Walton, who spent the previous two seasons as a Golden State assistant.

Will Randle validate those comparisons?

"I think he can. I also think he has the potential to be better," Green said. "With the God-given gifts he has, he has the potential to be better. I'll continue to grow. I'll never stop working and I'll continue to get better. But what is he, 21? That's a lot of time to continue to grow."

...

"The thing about him you can't teach is his heart," Green said. "When you have that heart and type of dog in you, you're going to work. I think he can be really, really, really good."

Julius Randle against Draymond Green
Julius Randle has a fan in Draymond Green. USATSI

Green and Randle have history. About a year ago, Randle talked trash to Green in a preseason game, and Green said that he respected his competitiveness. Since then, Green has become a mentor for Randle, and in an interview with Lakers Nation' Serena Winters last January, Green said that Randle will become "a force to be reckoned with."

All of this praise should be a real confidence builder for the 21-year-old Randle, who is considered a core part of the rebuilding Lakers' future. The two of them are similar in size, and Green has proven that, despite being shorter than most star big men, he can thrive playing both power forward and center. Part of that is because of his seemingly endless energy, an attribute that Randle shares.

It would be massively unfair, however, to expect Randle to become the next Green. He does not have the length to protect the rim, nor does he have the otherworldly basketball IQ that makes Green who he is. Randle is predictable with the ball in his hands, lacks 3-point range and is often out of position defensively. While Green is one of the most versatile players in basketball, Randle isn't much more than a hard-driving, offense-first power forward right now.

There is plenty of time for Randle to work on his weaknesses, of course, and Los Angeles should be patient with him. Perhaps, if he maximizes his potential, he'll play a lot more like Green in a couple of years. In the meantime, though, the Lakers and their fans should be realistic about what he can do.

CBS Sports Writer

James Herbert is somewhat fond of basketball, feature writing and understatements. A former season-ticket holder for the expansion Toronto Raptors, Herbert does not think the NBA was better back in the... Full Bio

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