Heading into the 2014-15 NBA season, there were high expectations for rookie Julius Randle of the Los Angeles Lakers. Randle, who was the franchise’s highest draft pick since James Worthy in 1982, showed potential during the six preseason games.
Unfortunately, Randle suffered a season-ending injury in his first official NBA game against the Houston Rockets. Despite the circumstances, Randle has used this season to become an ‘extreme’ student of the game according to Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding:
“Taking notes on those guys, taking notes on how I would attack those guys next year, or what they do, what do they like,” he said. “Just try to become an extreme student of the game. That’s for me, personally. To make sure when we’re playing five games in seven nights, and it’s tough to keep up next season, I’ll have my own scouting report as well as the coaches’.”
While some players would lose confidence in their rookie seasons, Randle is using his injury as an opportunity to learn the NBA game in preparation for next season. Although Randle showed his potential in the preseason, this time will allow him to understand how he can impact the game on both ends with his unique skillset.
With the Lakers not making the playoffs for the second consecutive season, this is perhaps the most important off-season in nearly a decade. While the franchise will be armed with a top-five protected pick and ample cap space, Randle will be an important piece as they look to rebuild themselves into championship contenders once again.[divide]