Los Angeles Lakers: Welcome to the All-Star year for Julius Randle
The Los Angeles Lakers fans have waited long enough for that sentenced to come to fruition. Well, the 2017-18 NBA season will not only be the breakout year for Julius Randle, it will also be his first All-Star Game appearance. Since entering the league in 2014, it has been a tough go for the talented power forward. He started out his rookie season with an injury then had to sit and watch as Kobe Bryant took center stage his second year. His third wasn’t as bad but the team was still learning to be a team and with Randle getting no inside help, his game suffered.
Now, everything has changed for the better.
The Lakers have a facilitator in Lonzo Ball. A shooter in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and best of all– Brook Lopez is now manning the middle. With Lopez set to take center stage, this will give Randle the proper space and opportunity needed to make that leap. Lopez in one of the best scoring Centers in the NBA but one of the worst rebounders as well. This is where Randle will make presence felt first. Randle averaged nine rebounds in 2016 after averaging 10 in 2015. With Randle and Lopez positioned in the post it will allow Julius to attack the boards and start the fastbreak the Lakers are hoping to make a staple again at the Staples Center this season.
But that’s not all. The Lakers have shooters now that will free up more space for Randle to operate and with Lopez stepping behind the three-point line now, that means more offensive rebound opportunities. His rebounds should reach the 13 per game level which will have him up there with the likes of Andre Drummond and Anthony Davis.
What will make Randle so dangerous is his offensive game?
Randle loves to attack the rim. He has a pretty decent handle for a man his size. What he will need to increase are his shots per game (10) and his FT’s (4). But this is the great thing about having Ball and Lopez on the floor with him. The Lakers will begin their offense with a pass into the post. What many forget is how great of a passer Lopez is. Randle, unlike many of the other power forwards in the league who has tried to turn themselves into a stretch 4 still loves the back to the basket style of play. Once Lopez takes the entry pass, you can expect Randle to begin his slash to the basket for what should be an easy layup or dunk. His 10 shots per game should rise around the 15 per mark which in turn for a 49 percent shooter will get his points per game average around the 16 points mark, not including an extra 4-5 points off free-throws.
Combined, that’s an average of 20 points and 13 rebounds for Randle and no media, player, fan or coach can deny that type of production come All-Star voting time.