When Focused, Julius Randle Is Los Angeles Lakers’ Best Player

LOS ANGELES — After pleading with the Los Angeles Lakers' public relations staff, Julius Randle reluctantly removed his hat.

"I really need a haircut, look at my chin," argued the 22-year-old forward, to no avail.

Tending to a newborn can reorganize a man's priorities; simple things like grooming can fall by the wayside. Randle is less than one month into fatherhood, as his fiancee, Kendra Shaw, gave birth to their son Kyden Randle on December 23.

With a sigh, Randle discarded his lid and turned on a smile for the throng of reporters who were eager to discuss his second triple-double of the season following the Lakers' 116-102 win Tuesday night over the Memphis Grizzlies. After putting up 19 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists, Randle became the sixth player in the league with multiple triple-doubles on the season. His elite company consists of Russell Westbrook, James Harden, LeBron James, Draymond Green and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Lakers (13-25) need their young cadre of players to develop into the next generation of stars, and Randle may be the best of the bunch.

"It's hard to guard someone who can move like that and carry 260 pounds on them...and be 6'11"," Nick Young said. "He's turned into the juggernaut with handles."

Young may be giving Randle a couple of inches (the Lakers list him at 6'9"), but he makes two salient points.

Randle can be a mismatch nightmare for teams—but only when he brings that effort consistently.

The Lakers are finding sustained effort to be a consistent issue for their youthful core: Rookie forward Brandon Ingram is just trying to find his way. D'Angelo Russell may grow into an All-Star point guard but presently runs hot and cold.

That's the issue with rebuilding around inexperienced players.

"It comes with being young," Russell said. "Experienced teams do well, and a lot of t...

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