Lakers’ Underwhelming Additions Create Opportunity, Pressure for Julius Randle

LAS VEGAS — If you think Jordan Hill was horribly overpaid, don't believe Nick Young is a serious professional and have concluded Linsanity was a total fluke, you still have Julius Randle.

The Lakers' offseason did not bring a free-agent superstar, which general manager Mitch Kupchak conceded Sunday was "a long shot." As a result, hopes for immediate improvement rest even more on their high draft pick, Randle, selected No. 7 overall.

Randle signed his contract Sunday and made his pro debut in the Lakers' second NBA Summer League game. Kupchak, Jim Buss and the whole scouting staff that believes so deeply in him were in the stands watching closely.

It's safe to say Randle isn't sweating any additional pressure.

He said he wasn't even really following the Carmelo Anthony limbo that ended in Los Angeles being denied and the New York Knicks bringing Anthony back.

"Out of my control," Randle said.

What Randle was looking to hear about was when the Lakers might be ready to give up on their free-agent money gymnastics—trying to preserve every dollar, if needed—and sign him, closing up his salary slot.

"I was just waiting on the call from Mitch," Randle said.

Asked if no top free agent coming to the Lakers now should create more opportunities for him as a rookie, Randle said, "It may, it may not. I'm not worried about it. What I can do is work hard, go out there and create opportunities for myself."

The call he was waiting for came Sunday, and so did the first opportunity. The performance wasn't great, with Randle mostly showing some skills with well-practiced one-on-one moves that didn't take into account how he was being defended. He was not sharp on defense. He scored 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting with two rebounds and two turnovers in 21 minutes in a 90-73 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.

Randle cal...

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