Julius Randle has been an enigma for the Los Angeles Lakers for much of this early season. After some initial struggles adjusting to his new role off the bench, Randle has become one of the team’s better players, providing offense, energy, and improved defense.
As his strong play continues, questions about Randle’s minutes have become commonplace. He currently averages just 21.2 minutes per game and many have wondered why he doesn’t play more. This hasn’t been as much of an issue recently, however, as Randle has played at least 28 minutes in three of the last four contests.
On Tuesday, Randle played 28 minutes in helping to lead a Lakers comeback win over the Chicago Bulls.
“Like I said from the beginning, playing time is the most precious thing in the league,” Randle said.
“Obviously, I’m happy. But winning is the most important thing. As long as we’re getting wins and playing well, that’s all that matters.”
Randle embracing that mindset is proof of the culture that head coach Luke Walton has gotten the team to embrace. Individual accomplishments are fine, but team success is the most important thing.
For Randle to think like that, despite seeing his role reduced somewhat is a great example for the rest of the team. Of course, Randle’s future with the Lakers remains a question mark as he is a restricted free agent this summer.
That was set in place once the Lakers chose not to extend his contract prior to the deadline. There is even the possibility that the team could move him before the trade deadline to clear more salary cap room.
As it stands now, Randle is still a vital part of the success of the Lakers and he has turned into one of the best reserve bigs in the NBA. Whether that leads to more minutes remains to be seen.
WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DISCUSSION? CHECK OUT THE NEW LAKERSNATION FORUM CLUB