Lakers draft pick Julius Randle played in the NCAA Championship game in early April, but didn’t play five-on-five basketball after that until signing his contract with the team 20 minutes before his Summer League debut in Las Vegas.
Randle dealt with foot issues leading up to the draft, and it wasn’t yet known if he would ultimately require surgery. He may be a bit heavier than his listed weight of 250 pounds at this point, and even if he isn’t, he’ll definitely need to get his wind back to the point where he’s ready to play a good chunk of minutes on a regular basis once the season begins.
Some players use training camp to work their way into game shape, but new Lakers head coach Byron Scott hopes that his rookie will take care of that in advance so that the focus can be on basketball instead.
From Mike Trudell of Lakers.com (via Triangle Offense):
“We’re been working on his post game and face up game, but the biggest thing is to get him in shape,” Scott said in the Q+A. “As a rookie, you don’t want to come into training camp out of shape. Then the season is halfway over by the time you get acclimated. We want him to get in great shape right now, and then he can start learning the system on both ends of the floor. We’re already putting him through a lot of defensive things right now to get him going.”
Randle is a bigger guy, but there’s no reason to believe he won’t attempt to do what his new coach is asking. With no injury concerns to deal with and now playing under a guaranteed contract, Randle can go full speed on his conditioning, which will only help to make his transition to the NBA game that much easier.
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.
For two decades, Kobe Bryant saw everyone and everything as an obstacle to overcome: The Pacers, Sixers, Nets, Magic, Celtics, Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich, Smush Parker, a torn Achilles. It didn’t matter. Kobe’s work ethic and drive had him rising above it all.
His focus hasn’t changed now. Kobe was on the Jim Rome show, and the topic of the new-look Warriors with Kevin Durant came up, along with the “woe is me” attitude of some players (and plenty of owners and GMs).
“I would have thought less about myself if I looked at that move and said, ‘That’s unfair,'” he said. “If you’re a real competitor, you look at that and say, ‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go. I don’t care how many players you have over there; we’re still going to take you down.'”
Easier said than done to make that happen, but that attitude is the only one to have if you think you have a chance. You can be sure LeBron James is thinking that way and telling his Cavaliers teammates the same.
We’re going to miss Kobe.