Julius Randle seems like he’s finally found his groove in Los Angeles

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Julius Randle is finding himself, but what took him so long?

The Los Angeles Lakers have come out of the other side of the All-Star break in great form, winning their first three on this side of the fun-filled weekend off. To start off the month of March, they’ll take their three game winning streak to Miami, where they’ll face the Heat in hopes of a fourth straight win.

While keeping the streak alive would be great, something more important should be what we really watch for during those 48 minutes. Julius Randle has quickly gone from one of the most tradable players in professional basketball to the third-best scorer on the Los Angeles Lakers in what feels like the blink of an eye.

It seems that at the beginning of the season it was emotions that were really getting the best of Julius Randle, and it showed in his game. He wasn’t starting, didn’t shield his emotions about it very well, and seemed more than on his way to somewhere else by the trade deadline, at the latest.

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Instead, it was Larry Nance Jr. that got the boot despite being in the starting lineup the majority of the time at power forward. As a result, the Lakers have shown a sort of commitment to both Randle and Kyle Kuzma at that slot for the remainder of the regular season, and it’s exactly what they needed to do.

While I feel that the team would be best off starting Randle as their center next season — assuming they re-sign him, of course — getting rid of Larry Nance Jr. was the key to getting the Julius Randle that this team has desperately needed.

Now, assuming nothing else drastically changes, this team has a very real chance of making the playoffs if the pieces to the puzzle are clicking on all cylinders. Julius Randle might’ve felt excluded when the season started, but the reality is setting in now that he’s one of the most important players that they have.