PF: Julius Randle
Randle was the seventh overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Lakers, and his rookie season ended after just 14 minutes because of a broken leg. After his recovery, Randle just kept improving, but the Lakers were not winning. They won just 78 games in three years as Randle averaged 13.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 2.6 assists in 27.8 minutes.
The Lakers let him walk in free agency after renouncing his rights, and he signed with the Pelicans. Randle immediately took off as he averaged 21.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 3.1 assists with his new team. The Pelicans won just 33 games, despite having Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday flanking Randle. The 6’8 forward became a free agent again in 2019, and he signed with Knicks.
Randle became a two-time All-Star in New York as he transformed into an elite scorer. He won the NBA’s Most Improved Player award in 2021 and has the Knicks in the playoffs for the second time in four years.
The Los Angeles Lakers gave up on Julius Randle too soon. They were bringing in LeBron James, and the fit would have been questionable at best as few saw Randle blossoming into a star like he did after leaving LA.