The rise of Julius Randle

image via Lakers Outsiders
image via Lakers Outsiders

The start of the 2017-2018 season for Julius Randle wasn’t exactly a good one. He struggled and was still out of control when it came to his offense. We all know that Randle is a good athlete that worked hard in the off-season to strengthen his conditioning and physique. Before the All-Star break, Randle was very unhappy when he lost his job in the starting lineup and came off the bench. He wasn’t too thrilled either when the Lakers didn’t offer him a contract extension. There were rumors going around that Randle was possibly on the trade block, with Dallas as the most interested in his services. Fast forward until now and Randle has completely turned things around. Not only is he playing well, but he’s become an almost unstoppable player in the paint. With all the turmoil and obstacles he encountered during the first half of the season, he’s done a complete 180-degree turn. He didn’t sulk or put his head down, instead he’s elevated his game and let it do all the talking. He’s literally bullying his way to the basket with his strength and teams around the league are starting to take notice. As we speak, Randle is averaging 15.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 0.6 bpg and is shooting 57% from the field. Those number have gone higher since last year when he averaged 13.2 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 0.5 bpg and shot 49% from the field. Randle is getting a lot of touches in the paint and he’s converting them at a good pace. Since January, he’s completely changed how other teams are trying to find ways to stop him. By seasons end, the Lakers are going to have to decide whether or not to pay him what he’s earned. I believe that he has to be a top priority with the Lakers, as well as trying to lure a star in Los Angeles. There will be a lot of variables to take into consideration this off-season, with an important one being if the Lakers decide to pursue and sign two max free agents which would leave little room for Randle to come back. He’s been part of the rebuild, and watching his game elevate has been great to see. I personally would love to see him back and he’s earned the right to get paid more, but it’s ultimately up to the Lakers to make that decision.

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