Julius Randle Ready to Fulfill Lakers’ Massive Expectations

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — It was just last year that Julius Randle walked into a new spot, looked around at a bunch of new dudes and soon enough established himself as the best player on the team.

So it goes for guys who are inherently bigger, stronger and better. Randle has claimed his turf time and again in basketball gyms at varying levels. Amid all the other much-hyped recruits at the University of Kentucky, it was no different.

Randle had his introductory news conference at the Los Angeles Lakers’ training facility Monday, still doing interviews in the gym as Robert Sacre and Xavier Henry were beginning individual workouts. With two of the Lakers’ filler players from their forgettable last season as a backdrop—Sacre the last guy picked in the 2012 NBA draft, Henry a typical post-hype reclamation project whose inconsistency and injuries were emblematic of the team—it was a stark reminder that Randle will immediately be expected to be one of the best guys on this squad too.

And if it wasn’t clear enough, Randle sat down next to the Lakers’ Spanish TV play-by-play announcer, Adrian Garcia Marquez, for a fun interview on the team’s Spanish-language regional network.

Garcia Marquez adds punch to his broadcasts with emphatic nicknames for the Lakers’ top players, none done with higher energy than “El Macho” for main man Kobe Bryant. Garcia Marquez already had a nickname all lined up for the smooth, older-looking-than-his-years Lakers draft pick: “Don Julio.”

Garcia Marquez asked Randle to read some one-liners in Spanish using his new nickname, including this awesome one:

“No Dwight, Don Julio es tu padre.”

It was just two years ago that Dwight Howard entered the Lakers’ world, got the same giddy greeting from Jim Buss and the grand tour of the NBA championship trophies ...

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