Los Angeles Lakers power forward Julius Randle has had a bit of an up-and-down season. His scoring is up from a year ago, he’s doubled his assist average, and is shooting a much better percentage from the field.
However, his rebounding is down, his turnovers and fouls are up, he has yet to make any significant improvements on defense, and he has had games where he seemingly just disappears.
Nonetheless, the talent is there for Randle and head coach Luke Walton is a believer in what he can do. He spoke about when he believes Randle is at his best, according to Mark Medina of the LA Daily News:
“Julius plays with a lot of feel, especially on the offensive end,” Walton said. “When he’s attacking the rim and making the pass when the pass is there and when the helpside defender stays home on his shooters, that’s when I think he’s at his best.”
Additionally, Walton also spoke about what he believes causes Randle’s struggles when he has those bad games, via Medina:
“He struggles when he wants to float around the perimeter and shoot jump shots,” Walton said. “We’re fine with him shooting it. His shot has gotten a lot better. But we still need him to be a big man that is a vicious roller and someone that is constantly attacking the glass and putting pressure on the defense.”
Improving his jump shot has been one of the ongoing subplots of Randle’s season. It still isn’t quite reliable just yet, but he is beginning to shoot it with a lot more confidence and less hesitation which is a step in the right direction.
Randle still has his struggles with consistency, but he has certainly shown what he can bring to the team. This offseason will be a huge one for Randle as the Lakers will need to decide whether or not to extend him and he will need to give them reasons to do so.