Taken seventh overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in June’s NBA Draft, Julius Randle figured to be an immediate contributor to the struggling franchise. Then the team signed Carlos Boozer and all of that changed. Randle was now involved in a position battle with a veteran and his spot in the starting lineup was in question.
Lakers coach Byron Scott will likely play the more experienced tandem of Jordan Hill and Boozer in the front court, but said Randle will have an opportunity to earn more playing time.
“But Julius will get plenty of chances to play a lot of minutes. We know he’s a rookie and needs to develop, and a lot of that will come in training camp and in practice. I think he’ll do just that.”
Scott described Randle as “raw” but raved about his athleticism and ability to score in the post or from mid-range.
He expects to use combinations of Hill, Boozer and Randle throughout the season, saying that the team is going to be small either way without a true center.
Playing small is really the only way to get the most out of this roster. Boozer will have his good nights, but he will also have the nights when he can’t hit the side of a dumpster. That’s when Randle needs to see more playing time.
Playing Boozer and Randle together could give the Lakers a Miami Heat-like way to invert the offense by playing horns (both bigs situated on different sides in the high post) and have guards Kobe Bryant, Nick Young and others attack the basket.
Scott has a chance to be creative with this team. The Lakers may not be very good this season, but maybe they will at least be watchable.