Lakers rookie Julius Randle was dealing with some foot issues leading up to this summer’s NBA draft, so he wasn’t able to work out perhaps as much as he normally would have to prepare for his first season as a professional.
He also had a shorter Summer League experience, thanks to not inking his rookie contract until less than 30 minutes before tip-off of L.A.’s second game in Las Vegas.
Lakers head coach Byron Scott said back in August that he wanted Randle to attempt to get in shape before training camp began. While he’s almost certainly improved his conditioning since then, it’s still not yet to the point where Scott is satisfied with his rookie’s progress.
“He’s got to do a better job of setting screens,” said Scott. “He’s got to do a better job of getting up and down the floor. He does that in spurts.
“The biggest thing with him right now is that he has to get in better shape. He’s in good shape but he has to get in great shape.” …
“When you’re not in great shape and you get tired, you lose focus, it’s that simple,” said Scott. “It’s just a matter of getting him in great shape.”
Scott has made conditioning a focus for the entire team, and Kobe Bryant said after day one that it was “for sure” the most running he’d ever done in an NBA practice.
Rookies are notoriously forced to take their fair share of grief from both veterans and the coaching staff. Randle will get there from a conditioning standpoint, though he may tire of hearing about it from Scott long before that actually happens.