Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle had what was easily the best season of his career. Randle averaged career highs in points and field goal percentage while carrying the team through a litany of injuries down the stretch of the season.
As a matter of fact, Randle was the member of the Lakers roster to play in all 82 games this season, an accomplishment that was not lost on the fourth-year forward. “Eighty-two was really good,” Randle said at his exit interview.
“Honestly, for me only playing 14 minutes or whatever it was my rookie year, breaking my leg and missing 81 games. For me, three years later to be able to play all 82 was really cool. You don’t really go into the season knowing if you’re going to be able to play all 82 or not.”
One of the reasons Randle believes he was able to play every game was because of the work he did last offseason getting into shape. Randle transformed his body and believes having that structured plan will once again help his this summer.
“Yeah, for sure. I knew what I wanted to work on as far as changing my body and all that type of stuff. Using my physical attributes, my physical gifts, and using those to the best of my abilities,” he said. “I kind of knew a lot more going into this offseason, what I wanted to work on. I think this offseason I know even more just based off how I played.”
The NBA’s changes to their scheduling also played a role as well. “Thanks to Adam Silver, too,” Randle added. “I think how they scheduled it with less back-to-backs and four (games) in five (nights), and all that type of stuff, that really helped.”
Of course, the most important part of Randle’s summer is his restricted free agency. Randle prefers to re-sign with the Lakers, and head coach Luke Walton wants him back, but it’s anyone’s guess as to what will ultimately happen.
One thing that is for sure is that Randle believes in the rest of the Lakers young core.
“These dudes are workers, more than anything. You see throughout the course of the season how everybody has grown as a player, how we grew as a group, together through the ups and downs and all the adversity,” he said.
“I think the one thing that stayed constant for every single person on this team is everybody was working. Everybody had the mentality to get better every single day. It’s probably the hardest working group of guys I’ve been around, team-wise.”
WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DISCUSSION? CHECK OUT THE NEW LAKERSNATION FORUM CLUB