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.
With so much focus in recent weeks being on NBA players speaking out on social issues, it’s worth remembering that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been one of the most vocal athletes in America on these things for decades. The Hall of Fame and all-time leading scorer in NBA history addressed the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening, urging voters to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, and opened his remarks by introducing himself as Michael Jordan, because “Donald Trump couldn’t tell the difference.”
You can watch the video of his speech below:
In the weeks since Kevin Durant announced he was signing with the Golden State Warriors, we have yet to hear Russell Westbrook speak on his former teammate’s decision. This week, ESPN.com’s Royce Young indicated in a podcast interview that Durant was telling Westbrook and others in the days leading up to his decision that he was coming back to Oklahoma City. He later walked back his report, saying he misspoke. On Thursday, Durant himself told The Vertical‘s Shams Charania that he never said any such thing, or misled Westbrook or anyone else about his intentions.
“It’s false,” Durant told The Vertical on Thursday. “I didn’t say that – words about me telling Russell or Nick that I would stay or leave never came out of my mouth. We met as teammates, but no promises came out of it. In this day and age, I can’t control anything people claim out there. Someone can go out and say something random right now, and people will believe it.
“I never told Russell or Nick [Collison], ‘All right, guys, I’m coming back to the Thunder’ – and then a week later, I decide not to. Never happened. I don’t operate like that. I heard people say that story, but it’s not the truth.”
So that settles that.
CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Bulls have signed guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
The Bulls acquired Dinwiddie in a trade with Detroit last month and waived him three weeks ago. He spent two years with the Pistons and appeared in 12 games last season, averaging 4.8 points and 13.3 minutes.
The Bulls announced the move Thursday.