Training camp for the Los Angeles Lakers began on Tuesday in Santa Barbara with head coach Luke Walton getting a chance to see what he’s working with regarding the team’s roster. Julius Randle, who will be battling it out with Larry Nance Jr. for the starting job at power forward, received some high praise from his new head after Lakers practice, via Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum SportsNet.
Julius Randle was "incredible" the way he brought the ball downcourt today at Laker practice, Luke Walton said.
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) September 27, 2016
One of Randle’s biggest deficiencies on the basketball floor during his time with the Lakers has been his lack of a consistent jump shot. The Kentucky product has struggled to make an impact with his jumper in Los Angeles but has reportedly improved in that area of his game. Running the floor has never been a problem for him which makes Walton’s comments about Randle, not all that surprising.
Bringing the ball up the floor has been one of Randle’s strongest attributes. Randle can handle the ball and can get to the basket at will. Finishing at the basket is another story altogether, though.
Randle’s progress will be something closely watched during training camp and the NBA preseason to follow. Nance showed improvement across the board during Summer League making this battle for the starting spot at power forward an intriguing one.
Although Randle has impressed Walton with his ability to bring the ball up the floor to start camp, it may come down to his ability to hit his jump shot and whether he’s truly improved from last season.