Julius Randle and the Los Angeles Lakers didn’t meet the standard that’s been set over the past month in their 112-93 win over the Phoenix Suns Tuesday, but Luke Walton was still impressed with the way his young power forward competed.
Randle stuffed the box score with 21 points, eight rebounds, five assists and one block while going 9-for-13 from the field in 27 minutes. Lines like that are exactly the type of production Walton is beginning to expect, something that hasn’t always been a given when Randle goes against lesser opponents.
“For Julius, the consistency that he’s been doing that with was impressive. You go against Carmelo Anthony, it’s easy obviously to get up for that. He’s one of the all-time great players. Nothing against [Dragan] Bender, but I was interested to see if Julius was going to bring that same intensity level,” Walton said.
“You could see it in his eyes when the game was starting, he was ready to go again. That’s big growth for him, because consistency is something I’ve been on him about since we got here last season. Over the last month he’s been very consistent for us.”
Randle has brought that intensity for the Lakers over the past month while averaging a team-high 16.7 points, 8.19 rebounds and 7.5 assists in 15 games in the last month. It’s a stretch in which the team has gone 11-4, the second-best record in the entire NBA over that span.
That consistency has been no small part of the Lakers’ recent winning ways, and while Randle has been on the trade block basically since August, it will be interesting to see if the prior month does anything to change the front office’s mind about keeping him in their plans moving forward.
One indication was that although the Lakers may not trade Randle before Thursday’s deadline, he might not be part of their big picture.
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