Los Angeles Lakers power forward Julius Randle has his work cut out for him this season. With his rookie contract set to expire at the end of the year, Randle will be looking to prove that he deserves a hefty raise next summer, even if that money might not come from the Lakers.
Drafted seventh overall by Los Angeles in 2014, Randle lost his rookie season due to injury, which is why it feels as though Randle’s contract is ending quickly. He only has two real NBA seasons under his belt, and the bruising power forward is still finding his way.
His energy and outside shooting have been issues for him in the past, so Randle has gone to great lengths to rectify those problems this summer. In an interview with Spectrum SportsNet, Randle explained his improvements:
“I feel great. My body feels like I’m in great shape, my legs, everything is coming together, so I’m excited, I’m ready to go…(I weigh) about 240, I was 243 last time, 6 percent body fat.”
We have already seen pictures of Randle’s dramatic body transformation this summer, and the amount of work that he has put in is clearly evident. He was always strong, but now he’s absolutely shredded as well. Lakers head coach Luke Walton also spoke out about Randle’s three-point shooting:
“He’s shooting them, which is what you do in the offseason; you keep working on your game. They look good too, he’s making a good percentage of them. In this progress of being a young player and getting it going, normally, you start working on something and you make them in practice and struggle a little bit in the game, and then eventually, they start going in in the game. So he’s on the right path.”
With Lonzo Ball now in the fold, the Lakers are expecting to run the fast break quite a bit more next season, which is part of why it’s so important that Randle gets himself into phenomenal shape.
His three-point shooting could also be a nice weapon if he can develop a consistent shot, as it would expand his offensive arsenal and make it much more difficult to pack the paint against him.
Given his already impressive ability to beat his man off the dribble, Randle could be in for a big season if he can round out his game a bit more and take advantage of the spacing the Lakers are hoping to create.