The NBA Draft is a dirty game of sorts, in that teams will put out whatever misinformation they can in hopes of protecting their own interests.
Julius Randle, who is expected to be selected with one of the top 10 picks, believes he was victimized by exactly this kind of gamesmanship.
Reports emerged that Randle would require foot surgery that would keep him sidelined until training camp — nothing too serious, but a potential red flag nonetheless. Randle publicly went after these reports, declaring them as patently false, and has reiterated this stance on multiple occasions since.
If in fact Randle won’t need surgery, then his assertion that teams put this out there simply to help themselves in the upcoming draft would seem to make some sense.
“I met with the best foot doctor in the country and he said he wouldn’t do anything with my foot, so there’s no scheduled surgery or anything,” said Randle, adding that he would be ready to play in the summer league in July. “I feel healthy, athletic. I’m moving great. No problems recovering and I’m ready to go.”
Randle said he thought a team might have planted the story.
“I think a lot of it is coming from maybe some teams (whose) motive is maybe for me to fall in the draft to them, or certain teams may want me,” said Randle.
Randle is a solid prospect whose draft stock wouldn’t be all that affected if in fact the reported surgery would end up being required, but others in the first round appear to have more long-term upside, which somewhat pegs Randle to a position somewhere in the 7-10 range.
He’s seemed extremely confident in his health throughout this process, which may mean that he’s accurate in assuming that a team put out the information in hopes he’d fall a few more spots.