2015 Lakers Media Day: What we learned about Julius Randle

Julius Randle’s return from a season-ending leg injury is one of the things I’m most excited for this year. We haven’t had much of chance to see what the prized prospect can do in game action, and so seeing him in Lakers uniform and not in a suit this season will be a welcomed sight.

Anyway, here are some things we learned about the Kentucky product at media day.

He will not be restricted in training camp

While this is not much of a surprise, it’s still good to hear. Without restrictions, Randle should be able to have a very productive training camp and preseason. As we saw with Clarkson last season, there is no better way to develop than to play in live-action.

Relatedly, Randle also talked about how much better shape he is in this year:

The improved conditioning might also help him become a consistent defender as he’ll be less likely to take plays off on that end. Byron Scott said that Randle is an exceptional defender when he wants to be, but the effort isn’t always there. That’s something we saw in Summer League too.

His jumper is improving

One thing that he has been working on most — and will continue to do so — is his jump shot. 

If Randle can develop a consistent jumper, he will be one tough cover. With his quickness, strength, and handle for his size, Randle has the ability to get to rim whenever he wants. Developing a consistent jumper will prevent defenses from sagging off of him, making it even easier to get to the rim. Plus, it will simply help the whole offense out as it’ll add another dimension in the pick-and-roll, and aid in the overall spacing of the offense.

Randle’s jumper has been streaky in the limited time we’ve seen him in game action, and hopefully the time he has spent on it can make him a reliable threat from 15-20 feet out.

He’s a student of the game

One of the reasons that Metta World Peace was reportedly brought back for was his mentorship of Randle. Randle proved that those reports were spot on.

World Peace, on the other hand, had a ton of praise for the young forward, especially on his willingness to learn:

Young players aren’t always easy to coach (Phil Jackson once called Kobe “uncoachable’), and sometimes it takes those players a few years before they realize that NBA coaches and veterans are trying to help them improve, not nitpick their games. However, Randle does not seem to have that issue, and that’s good news for his development. The more you listen, the more you learn.

And even though Brandon Bass will be competing with Randle, he’ll be quick to offer advice to him too.


The main takeaway from all of this is that Randle will be in a position to succeed this season. He’ll get plenty of playing time, plus he has a good group of veterans around him, he’s healthy, and is a willing learner. When you combine that with the talent and athleticism he has, Randle is primed to have a strong year of development.

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