The young core of the Los Angeles Lakers is quickly learning the rigors that come with an 82-game NBA season. While playing against superior talent, they have to adjust their games to each opponent, working on the strengths and weaknesses of their game. For Julius Randle, it is more so about finding the confidence to develop his game to the next level.
It was only two seasons ago when Randle was slated to make his debut with the Lakers, only for a player’s worst nightmare to come true. The Kentucky alumnus broke his right leg in the home opener and thus missed his entire rookie campaign.
The Texas native had to patiently wait for the leg to heal, while attempting to continue working on his strength and different facets of the game. Alas, Randle returned during the 2015-16 season in what many considered his rookie campaign.
Now in his third season in the NBA (second playing-wise), Randle is beginning to dominate on a nightly basis, while providing efficiency using his versatility on the court.
In an ESPN piece by Baxter Holmes, Randle addressed how he has been adding moves to his game and why his health is the key factor:
“There’s more confidence, and it just comes with playing, getting back used to your body,” Randle said Sunday.
During their 113-96 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Randle proved to be their most efficient player. The 21-year-old finished the game with 20 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three steals. He shot 7-for-10 for the game, continuing his trend of being efficient from the field.
His development has Lakers fans optimistic for what the future beholds, anxious to see what the electric left-handed forward can develop into. His ball handling abilities has proven to be a constant mismatch, as power forwards are unable to keep up with his agility.
While Randle did have a rocky start to his career, the bad times showed that Kupchak and the organization truly cared:
“It made me know that I played for an organization that cared,” Randle said. “My teammates and coaches — everybody cared.”
The Lakers have already exercised their contract option on Randle, along with D’Angelo Russell and Larry Nance Jr.
Randle reiterated that his body is now healthier than it has ever been, as the 6’9″, 249 lbs. forward is developing into a stretch-four. Through three games this season, he is averaging 15 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.