Los Angeles Lakers: Julius Randle’s Recovery Is About Learning


On October 28, 2014, the Los Angeles Lakers opened their season at home against the Houston Rockets. This was the day fans were all waiting for. To witness what was supposed to be the beginning of the future.

Instead, the now 20-year-old rookie Julius Randle drove into the lane for a lay-up, came down and broke his leg. Randle played 14 minutes and scored two points, but would not play another minute during the 2014/15 season. As devastating as this injury is for the seventh overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft, fans can start getting excited about Randle’s comeback.

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Randle was cleared last week to resume weight-bearing exercises to recover from his broken leg. He also went through some light shooting drills to start shaking off the rust that has built over the last five months. However, Randle’s recovery did not simply start last week. It started after his surgery, when Mitch Kupchak assigned the rookie to study game tapes of players he will potentially be guarding next season, and then report back to Kupchak.

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  • This is just fantastic news for Lakers fans as the rookie is not just sitting around waiting for the new season to come around. He is being pro-active by learning about the game, player tendencies, and making notes. The Lakers have an upcoming five-game road trip starting in Oklahoma on March 24 and ending in Philadelphia on March 30. Byron Scott told Mark Medina that Randle will travel with the team during this road trip which will allow Randle to study more players he will potentially guard next season and develop some off-court chemistry with his teammates. This will only benefit Randle in the long-term as he is making his own scouting reports and in turn, this will help him become a better player and more unpredictable.

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    Julius Randle isn’t the only rookie to have missed a season due to injury. James Worthy broke his leg in April 1983 and missed the remainder of the season including the Playoffs. Following his injury, he went on to win three NBA Titles, one NBA Finals MVP, and seven All-Star selections. If Randle has the same drive as ‘Big Game James’ had, which by the looks of it, he does, Randle will have a bright future with the Lakers organization. By creating his own scouting reports, studying players’ tendencies, Randle is showing us that he is a willing learner and ready to do whatever it takes to succeed with the Lakers. And perhaps, receive the torch from Kobe Bryant to lead this organization back to prominence.

    Even though these predictions can only satisfy our mental angst, only time itself can establish such outcomes for sure.