A Season Lost Or A Gained Perspective (ding Piece On Julius Randle)

Discussion in 'Lakers Discussion' started by therealdeal, Feb 27, 2015.

  1. therealdeal

    therealdeal Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2014
    Messages:
    21,222
    Likes Received:
    37,683
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Offline
    A Season Lost, Julius Randle Readies His Mind and Body to Lead Lakers from Abyss
    By Kevin Ding, NBA Senior Writer Feb 27, 2015
    Los Angeles Lakers' season would be about almost nothing but his personal development if he was healthy.

    In spite of that, there is an undeniable optimism to Randle these days. It's a spirit, more like an assuredness, that this detour has been and will be completely worthwhile for him.

    "It's easy to just take this as, 'Oh, I'm hurt. I can't do anything,'" Randle said in an extended interview with Bleacher Report. "But it's not like that for me. I want to learn. I want to be as prepared as I can next year."

    Randle, the Lakers' highest draft pick in 32 years, broke his leg in his first NBA game. That was four months ago, and it would seem all he has accomplished since then is some healing of the tibia in his right leg (and taking advantage of the downtime to replace the screw in his right foot, which Randle now admits was estimated as "a 50-50 chance I may need surgery in the middle of a season if it breaks some more").

    Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak set about ensuring Randle, 20, was engaged mentally by assigning the rookie to write up reports about Lakers games. Randle would break down the game quarter by quarter, detailing what the Lakers did right or wrong, dissecting the opponent's game plan and focusing especially on matchups at Randle's power forward position.



    [​IMG]

    Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images
    Julius Randle has had his knowledge of the Lakers' attack tested regularly by GM Mitch Kupchak.


    Randle enjoyed it—not so much that he is planning a post-basketball career as a sportswriter, but the process of writing his thoughts down crystallized concepts in his mind.

    Randle no longer has to email his papers in to Professor Kupchak, but Randle has taken the work to his own higher level. He now keeps a personal notebook of observations, primarily scouting points he notices about other power forwards, while he watches more NBA games than probably any player on any roster in the league.

    "I just sit there and watch games all day. I don't have anything else to do but sit there and watch games," he said, chuckling. "League Pass is on all day, so you can watch games all day.

    "I've watched a lot of basketball, but never this much NBA basketball. You see the pace of play, the flow of the game. Put yourself in positions that you can be in the game. It helps you mentally be prepared to know what to do when you are out there."

    Randle said he still talks to Kupchak "all the time" about things, but Randle's enthusiasm for independent study is irrepressible. He said his idle time while injured "has flown by." You can see the light in his eyes as he goes on about it—and as he implies he can already take most of these NBA guys he's now watching.

    "Taking notes on those guys, taking notes on how I would attack those guys next year, or what they do, what do they like," he said. "Just try to become an extreme student of the game. That's for me, personally. To make sure when we're playing five games in seven nights, and it's tough to keep up next season, I'll have my own scouting report as well as the coaches'."



    [​IMG]

    Alex Gallardo/Associated Press


    This is why Randle feels empowered despite the physical incapacity. His mind is more active as an observer and analyst than it could ever be while burdened with the primary task of grinding through the schedule as a participant.

    Although he can't test them out yet, he is developing theories. That's invaluable. It's a learner's mind.

    Cultivating curiosity about how things work is critical to making them work over the long haul.

    So when asked if all this time not playing has chipped away at what has always been a healthy confidence, Randle responded without hesitation: "Absolutely not. If anything, it has built my level of belief. I see the opportunity. It's reassured me of my ability and the things I know I can do."

    With the extra time, Randle says he has transitioned easily to be a pro off the court—for example, learning from Lakers strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco while they shop at Whole Foods together and DiFrancesco explains how important the kind of oil used in cooking is or how the word "organic" on a label doesn't make it necessarily right for Randle.

    It took the Lakers' last teenage draft investment, Andrew Bynum, years to get out of the McDonald's drive-thru and hotel minibar. The Lakers' current leading scorer, Nick Young, is 29 and still having to be urged to apply video study to game preparation.

    Randle even got stronger mentally in testing himself to deal with physical pain. He stopped taking the prescribed painkillers three days after breaking his leg and dealt with what he admitted was "terrible" pain for several weeks.

    "I don't want to get addicted to that stuff," he said.



    [​IMG]

    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press


    Randle hopes to be medically cleared Monday to begin running on an anti-gravity treadmill. He has already begun more intensive workouts in the past 10 days on the elliptical machine and stationary bike, plus range-of-motion and weight work.

    "I'm able to finally get a sweat and feel like I'm building toward something," he said.

    The foot will heal fully before the leg, and Randle will play on the Lakers' NBA Summer League team if all goes as scheduled.

    "With how my body is reacting and how I feel," he said, "I definitely feel like I should be ready for summer league."

    Randle's appreciation for studying the game doesn't mean he has gotten over not playing it. It's why he prefers to watch Lakers games on TV from the training room at Staples Center. Although Randle intends to change that soon and experience the live action from the bench, he is clear about how little he enjoys watching from so up close.

    "I hate it. I hate it. It's torture," he said. "It's like you're a five-year-old kid and everybody else has candy—and you've got to watch them eat it."

    Randle has tried to limit those negative thoughts and welcome his first break from "going hard-hard-hard-hard" at basketball and training since eighth grade. He adheres to a simple step-by-step path for mental growth and physical recovery.

    Repeatedly and without solicitation, Randle, during the interview with B/R, references tips Kobe Bryant has given him for this process as his keystones.

    "One of the things I learned from Kobe: You focus on what you're dealing with now," Randle said. "Of course, you know the big picture, but I was just focused on what I was dealing with now. Getting the swelling out of my leg. Whatever I needed to do to build toward something. I was focused on the details more than looking at the big picture. If you look at the big picture, you start losing your focus on the little things."



    [​IMG]

    Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images


    Randle is also hopeful he will be able to work out in earnest this summer with Bryant, who will be looking to complete his own recovery from a torn rotator cuff.

    Bryant previously vowed to stay on Randle during recovery, and Randle said Bryant has via talks and texts: "Seeing if I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. Going about my craft the right way. Building toward something. I learned that stuff from him."

    The poetry of Randle's first full season overlapping with Bryant's potentially final one has not escaped Randle, who said before being drafted: "I'm the biggest Laker fan. Probably more of a Kobe fan." When Bryant passed Michael Jordan on the career scoring list this season, Randle referred to Bryant on Instagram as "the greatest in my eyes."

    This is not quite Dwight Howard trying to get Kobe out of the way.

    "I've thought about it being his last year," Randle said. "With a guy like that who has put so much hard work into the game, you want to make his last year special—or convince him that it's not his last year."

    However long Bryant plays and whatever talent comes to the Lakers in free agency and the upcoming draft, Randle's supposedly wasted rookie season has laid a unique foundation.

    The kid who isn't even playing believes more than ever that he is worthy of Bryant passing him the torch.

    "I'm paying my dues right now, doing whatever I have to do to be ready," Randle said. "But, of course, it's something you think about: Who wouldn't want to be in his position? Kob came in and paid his dues and eventually became the guy for the Lakers and someone they built around. Of course, that's something you think of as far as what you want for this organization and winning and what you want for yourself and your team.

    "That's another thing I've learned from him: how he carries himself, what does he do, what's his mindset. So when you're put in a position or given an opportunity, you know how to be ready to approach it."
     

    Attached Files:

    • slide.jpg
      slide.jpg
      File size:
      138.2 KB
      Views:
      11,620
  2. LaVarBallsDad

    LaVarBallsDad - Lakers MVP -

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2014
    Messages:
    9,641
    Likes Received:
    14,619
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Offline
    I read that this morning; great, great read. Thanks for posting.
     
    Ryanwestlombardi likes this.
  3. TIME

    TIME Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    2,115
    Likes Received:
    5,552
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Lifelong Lakers fan.
    Location:
    LaLa Land
    Offline
    Great read. Love this kid.
     
  4. JSM

    JSM - Lakers Starter -

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2014
    Messages:
    2,675
    Likes Received:
    4,986
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Offline
    I can't say enough good things about his attitude, mentality, and approach. He has all the makings upstairs of a truly elite big man. This year of studying, watching, and analyzing everyone could give him a enormous advantage over other rookies and sophomores. Picking up tips from Mitch, Kobe, the trainers, and others on everything from matchups, to preparation, to dieting. I'm exciting to see him start putting all this information into practice come summer league. Also, props to Mitch for coming up with that assignment for him and playing the role of professor. Prevents him from feeling left out and keeps his mind sharp on the game. Much better than Bynum sitting on the couch playing video games and building computers while he was hurt.
     
  5. therealdeal

    therealdeal Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2014
    Messages:
    21,222
    Likes Received:
    37,683
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Offline
    He is part of the reason I'm optimistic about the future of this franchise and it's information like this that makes me so hesitant to trade Randle anywhere. He's got the mental makeup of a cornerstone, franchise player. The only thing left to do... is execute (right Kobe?).

    I really love his attitude and approach and while part of me thinks what Mitch did was a little hokie, it was also a great idea and a good fit for Julius's personality. Watching Julius develop is going to be a blast. Get healthy, stay healthy, and let's see some great things out of this kid.
     
  6. The Showtime Mamba

    The Showtime Mamba - Rookie -

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2014
    Messages:
    462
    Likes Received:
    761
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Offline
    Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak set about ensuring Randle, 20, was engaged mentally by assigning the rookie to write up reports about Lakers games. Randle would break down the game quarter by quarter, detailing what the Lakers did right or wrong, dissecting the opponent's game plan and focusing especially on matchups at Randle's power forward position.

    This is the sort of thing I love. Hopefully this makes Randle a lifelong student of the game. He has always had a lot of physical tools, but give him an ability to put a little "old man game" in by outwitting his opponents and it will be deadly and means he can score without having to go all out all game.

    His attitude to not taking the pain killers is heartening too. That maturity many people caught in interviews is showing through.

    Can't wait for him to be punishing people with that face up jumper and blowing by and dunking on PF's around the league.

    And if Cousin's can't come to L.A, I hope Randle can meet up with him on All Star game. I think Randle does not just have potential, he has promise, and he is destined to keep those promises.

    Would not trade him for anybody but a combination of Lamarcus Aldridge, the Suns medical staff, and Anthony Davis' unibrow (it's the source of his power:nerd:).
     
    Battle Tested20, JSM and trodgers like this.
  7. trodgers

    trodgers Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    8,760
    Likes Received:
    13,748
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    Professor of Humanities
    Location:
    Orlando
    Offline
    Anyone hope Kobe never sees those reports until after he's retired? :)
     
  8. Battle Tested20

    Battle Tested20 - Lakers All Star -

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2014
    Messages:
    4,889
    Likes Received:
    8,312
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Occupation:
    eMoney Advisor
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Offline
    Such a great point and when I read the article for the first time I thought... What a fabulous idea from Mitch to not only make him feel wanted, part of the team, but to have a purpose. Not only has it turned into a purpose successfully, but I think its left a huge foundation of success and growth that probably would not have been tapped into until later in his career. He's already getting on Kobe's level as far as the video and player tendency preparation is concerned.


    What a great kid and such wonderful potential! I always feared in the back of my mind that watching the Lakers when Kobe would be gone would be difficult due to a player not being hell bent on a purpose. We Lakers fans can now rejoice, we have found that guy!
     
  9. Savory Griddles

    Savory Griddles Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2014
    Messages:
    4,499
    Likes Received:
    7,529
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Offline
    Pft. Sounds like the next Samaki Walker to me.

    I kid, I kid
     
  10. LTLakerFan

    LTLakerFan - Lakers MVP -

    Top Poster Of Month

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2014
    Messages:
    11,243
    Likes Received:
    13,437
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    So Cal
    Offline
    GREAT READ. LOVE THIS KID.

    He really does have the mindset of wanting to be that "Alpha Dog ... Franchise" kind of player.
     
  11. wallangong

    wallangong - Rookie -

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2014
    Messages:
    386
    Likes Received:
    886
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Online
    Incredible read. There's a lot of guys that talk big. But his quotes seem so calculated like he already knows what he's doing and how he's going to back it up. Obviously it's possible it's just talk, but I'm a believer this kid is the real deal. No pun intended trd :cool:
     
    LTLakerFan and therealdeal like this.
  12. therealdeal

    therealdeal Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2014
    Messages:
    21,222
    Likes Received:
    37,683
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Offline
    I agree that some people never back-up what they're saying with action, but just like Clarkson we saw this kid develop basically ever game he was out there. I've seen more development out of Randle and Clarkson in their limited time than I've seen from Wes Johnson in his entire time here.

    Even Jordan Hill. It could be said he's developed that jump shot, but at the expense of his rebounding and hard work on the glass. In my opinion he's regressed since we've given him more minutes.
     
    Savory Griddles, JSM and LTLakerFan like this.
  13. Extensor

    Extensor - Rookie -

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2014
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Offline
    Great read about Randle. Can't wait to watch him next season. However, reading this piece made me lose a respect point for Nick Young.
     
    therealdeal and LaVarBallsDad like this.
  14. ninjagorn

    ninjagorn - Rookie -

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    Messages:
    189
    Likes Received:
    101
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Slovenia
    Offline
  15. LaVarBallsDad

    LaVarBallsDad - Lakers MVP -

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2014
    Messages:
    9,641
    Likes Received:
    14,619
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Offline
    With a healthy Randle and JC, I wonder how many more wins we would have by now? I say we have 6-7 more wins at the very least.
     
  16. LTLakerFan

    LTLakerFan - Lakers MVP -

    Top Poster Of Month

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2014
    Messages:
    11,243
    Likes Received:
    13,437
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    So Cal
    Offline
    ninjagorn ^^^ if it were me I would go ahead and copy the whole but short piece here and then make sure to post the link for any additional interest coming from the author's posts. But just this below, it seems Julius is wise beyond his years. From that fabulous program he was in as a youth, he would have been anyway just from that eye opening experience of traveling 1st class from a great kids' benefactor. But to embrace now while he's still basically a kid with no metabolism problems ..... "diet" ....... says a lot about his career dedication.

    ""We're 19- and 20-year-old kids, so we have a stigma about us that we can eat whatever we want. You've got to do what's best for your body. That's something I learned this year.""
     

Share This Page