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.
“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.