The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t bring in all of the players they wanted this off-season, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t reason for optimism on the team. The Lakers have begun building one of the more intriguing young cores in the NBA and two second-year players are at the heart of that.
Power forward Julius Randle is recovered from his broken leg and in an interview with Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times, Executive VP of Basketball Operations Jim Buss praised Randle for the work he has put in this off-season:
He’s a beast. He’s been working out with some ex-NBA players and handling himself very well. He’s super strong, very fit”
Likewise, Buss praised second-year guard Jordan Clarkson for his work ethic and constantly striving to improve his game:
Watching Jordan Clarkson develop [this summer], he’s followed that same path, how he got better and better every game”
Clarkson is the most proven and developed of the Lakers young players. After a rookie season in which he was named to the All-Rookie First Team, Clarkson was the best player on the Lakers Summer League team, averaging just under 17 points in five games.
Randle didn’t have the success of Clarkson in the Summer League, but showed flashes of what is to come with his brute strength, scoring, and playmaking. As the Lakers start getting prepared for life without Kobe Bryant, the development and performance of these two, along with rookie D’Angelo Russell will go a long way in bringing the Lakers back to the top of the NBA.[divide]