The Los Angeles Lakers are preparing to embark on a new NBA season, one that will be the most important of power forward Julius Randle’s young life.
The team has been rebuilt with young players at it’s core, with a focus on developing Randle, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and others into the team’s core of the future. All the while, the Lakers will hope that they can jump-start their rebuild by landing a few max-level free agents next summer, with LeBron James and Paul George squarely in their sights.
With the times changing in Los Angeles, it’s only right that their jerseys should (sort of) change as well.
The NBA’s jersey deal with Adidas expired and they opted to switch over to Nike, which has given teams an opportunity to freshen up their look. The Lakers, however, decided to keep their classic look largely the same, as Randle recently modeled on the Lakers Twitter account:
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) September 16, 2017
Of course, while the Lakers jersey looks essentially the same, Randle looks strikingly different than he did at the end of last season. After dedicating himself to a strict strength, conditioning, and nutrition program he barely looks like the same person. Where he once had a little extra padding on his frame, Randle is now absolutely shredded with lean muscle mass.
While we will have to wait for the season to start to get a feel for how his physical transformation will impact his game, in an ideal world, we will see a quicker, more explosive Randle who is just as physically strong as ever. It’s the kind of change that could make a huge difference in Randle’s performance, particularly on the defensive end where he would tend to get winded.
The transformation is coming at just the right time, as Randle’s rookie deal will expire at the end of the 2017-2018 season. If he’s able to have a career year then all the work Randle has put in this offseason could pay off in the form of a big new contract next summer.