While the past few seasons have been difficult for the Los Angeles Lakers, the silver lining has been the addition of a number of young, talented players that they are hoping to rebuild the franchise around. With the arrival of Lonzo Ball with the second overall pick in this year’s draft and the development of Brandon Ingram, it feels as though Los Angeles finally has something real brewing. That said, it would be a mistake to overlook bruising power forward Julius Randle.
The Lakers selected Randle with the seventh pick in the 2014 draft, and while he tragically lost his rookie season due to a broken leg, Randle has spent the past two seasons showing serious flashes of potential as the team’s starting power forward.
He has been hard at work on his game this summer and has already shown an incredible body transformation that should give him the endurance he needs to play more minutes. While Randle hasn’t played in an NBA game since mid-April, he did showcase his skills in the Drew League, which posted highlights on their Instagram page:
Thanks to his lost rookie year, Randle is now entering the final year of his contract despite playing in only two full NBA seasons. Unless he and the Lakers agree to an extension, which appears unlikely, Randle will hit restricted free agency next summer, and with Los Angeles determined to have cap space for two max salaries, nothing is guaranteed about bringing him back.
With that being the case, Randle would appear to be poised for a breakout season. Now is the time for him to prove that he can reach his potential, and much of it will depend on his ability to improve in a number of areas, including his outside shooting. Unfortunately, Randle primarily flashes more of the same bully ball style that fans have become accustomed to in the Drew League clip, but that doesn’t mean that his all-around skills haven’t grown.