Julius Randle’s Versatility Unlocks LA Lakers’ Options for 2015 Offseason

It’s easy to forget the promise Julius Randle represented for the Los Angeles Lakers before a broken leg robbed him of his rookie season. But with last year’s No. 7 draft pick from Kentucky back on track, we are reminded how much he can affect the team’s ongoing rebuild.

Randle fractured his right tibia just 14 minutes into his regular-season debut October 28. While recovering the rest of this past campaign, he also had a procedure to replace a screw in his foot from a high school injury.

The 20-year-old power forward has since resumed basketball activities as he aims for summer league action in Las Vegas next month. 

Randle is also lighter and faster now, having lost 18 pounds. As he told Mike Trudell of Lakers.com, “I’m able to move better, get off my feet quicker.”

That’s good news in a league where multipositional versatility has become the vogue. At 6’9”, Randle could become the kind of hybrid forward that is so important in the modern NBA.

Forum Blue and Gold’s Darius Soriano recently examined the former Wildcat’s progress:

The most interesting takeaway isn’t that he’s healthy, but that he’s lost as much weight as he has and the positive benefits he is attributing to being lighter. A Randle who is quicker off his feet, better able to recover when getting tired, and moving around the floor with more ease is a player even more dangerous. 

If he’s able to retain his functional strength with the lighter frame, watch out. He will essentially bring quickness and skill of a smaller player to the PF position. If you have been watching the playoffs, you only need to see how the Warriors and Cavs have benefited from Draymond Green and LeBron bringing the skillset of a wing player to the PF spot.

Soriano goes on to caution that it’s way too early to compare ...

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