Julius Randle has been a scoring monster for the New Orleans Pelicans

Julius Randle New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Julius Randle New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

It’s debatable whether or not the New Orleans Pelicans should bring Julius Randle back next year. But one thing’s for sure: The dude can score.

In 60 games with the New Orleans Pelicans this season, Julius Randle has scored in double figures a staggering 58 times. Right off the bat, let’s start by acknowledging how impressive that truly is. Night in and night out, the Pelicans know they can count on Julius to contribute at least 10 points, but even that would be a very conservative prediction.

Currently, Julius Randle is riding a 37 game streak of scoring in double digits. During this time, he’s dropped 30 points or more 6 times, topping out at 37 points on December 3rd against the Los Angeles Clippers. This streak spans all the way back to the very beginning of December, just to put it in some more context.

Admittedly, there are certain nights where it’s debatable whether or not Julius Randle should be taking as many shots as he is in order to score all these buckets. Alvin Gentry has clearly given him the green light to shoot whenever he wants. While that’s usually okay, there are clear examples during games of the ball sticking once it gets in Randle’s hands. Not every shot he takes is necessarily a good one.

Still, the results are clear: Whether or not there are occasionally ill-advised shot attempts one could point to, Julius Randle can score. Period. And in another season where Anthony Davis has battled some injuries and is now limited to 20 minutes per game tops, Randle’s bucket-getting ability has only gotten more and more important for this New Orleans Pelicans squad.

He’s shooting at a healthy nearly 53% from the field, and a fairly stretchy nearly 35% from three point range, which is a career high by a mile. If Julius can continue to add a nice three point jumper to his repertoire, he’s only going to get more and more deadly as a scorer. He’s already averaging almost 21 total points per game for the New Orleans Pelicans this season, and that’s bound to go up as he knocks down more threes.

It’s important to point out that Randle is still pretty young, too. He’s only 24 years old and probably won’t even hit his prime for another several years. Typically, young players need some extra time to develop some more refined NBA skills, such as playmaking and defense in general, so we still might not really fully know what Randle’s ceiling could be once he hits his prime.

Julius will likely enter free agency this summer. He’s got a Player Option on his contract for next season, meaning he has one year left with the New Orleans Pelicans, but only if he chooses to stay on board at his salary for around $9 million next year. However, a young player scoring over 20 points per game can get a contract well beyond $9 million in the current financial landscape of the league, so expect Randle to opt out and test the market. It’s possible the Pelicans could bring him back, but they’ll surely have to offer him a pay raise.

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With Anthony Davis limited and Jrue Holiday out with an abdominal strain, expect Julius Randle’s current scoring tear to continue throughout the remainder of the season. With it being a likely contract year for the New Orleans Pelicans’ big man, he’ll have added incentive to keep this up until the 2018-2019 campaign concludes.