After missing virtually all of last season to injury, Julius Randle will be put to test in the upcoming 2015-2016 NBA Season as the Lakers expect him to play a major role in their campaign for the new basketball year.
"I told him every time he gets a defensive rebound, I want him to push it," Lakers head coach Byron Scott told ESPN after their preseason game on Sunday. "We expect him to play well this year, even though it's kind of his rookie year as well. Just the experience of watching and learning from the bench [last season], I think was important for him. I expect him to play the way he's playing right now, even at a higher level."
Randle’s role with the team, specifically that of initiating the offense after a defensive rebound, will be similar to that of former Laker Lamar Odom, who was an effective point forward when he played with the Hollywood squad.
Randle, who plays the same forward position as Odom, will be entering his second year in the league although it just might as well be his rookie year as he just played a total of 14 minutes in his rookie year.
Randle also said that he expects to be used as a point forward for the Lakers saying that he’s doing it "since I was little."
Randle, who was the seventh overall pick by the Lakers in the 2014 NBA Draft, is making up for lost time as he delivered respectable numbers in the 2015 preseason. In four games so far, he averages 13.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.3 steals per game in 23.5 minutes of action.
The Lakers are not expected to contend for a title in the upcoming year but they have the tools to at least battle for a playoff spot.
Kobe Bryant is returning from injury and the Lakers have been active in the offseason acquiring the likes of center Roy Hibbert, power forward Brandon Bass, combo guard Lou Williams and rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell. Also returning are guards Jordan Clarkson, Nick Young and forward Ryan Kelly.