Los Angeles Lakers power forward Julius Randle has had something of an up-and-down season, which is appropriate given the team’s hot and cold (or freezing) play. This has left head coach Luke Walton looking for consistency from his talented big man, something that is a common problem for young players.
It’s going to require patience, but Randle has flashed so much potential this season that it can be frustrating when he has a string of sub-par performances. In a piece by Mike DiGiovana of the Los Angeles Times, Walton spoke about the struggle to get Randle to play at the highest possible level:
“Sometimes I’m like, ‘Holy Lord, he’s figured it out, and the rest of the league is in trouble,’ ” Coach Luke Walton said of Randle. “And there are other times when it’s like, ‘Wow, what was he looking at right there?’ ”
When he has everything clicking, Randle can flash a truly awesome blend of speed, skill, and raw power. His ball handling and rebounding abilities allow him to grab a defensive rebound and instantly ignite the fast break by pushing the ball up the floor, something that few players in the league can do. His passing has also drastically improved this season. Now, when defenses clog the paint against him, he regularly kicks the ball out to open shooters.
Despite his occasional dominance, Randle can also have performances where he struggles to finish around the rim or get locked in defensively, as though he just never really finds the rhythm of the game. Walton suggested that his newborn son could be playing a role in Randle’s uneven play:
“He’s probably trying to figure out a new sleep schedule at home with the new little man,” Walton said. “But he works his tail off, he wants to win, and he wants to get better.
While Randle denied that theory, what’s most important is his work ethic. As long as he continues to put in the work and finds a way to give the maximum effort at all times on the court, Randle will be a force to be reckoned with.