The Los Angeles Lakers lost their preseason debut against the Utah Jazz on Sunday night, but the small "setback" did not stop Kobe Bryant from issuing some strong praise for his fellow starter, second-year power forward Julius Randle. "he's an animal man," Bryant told Serena Winters of Lakers Nation, "he's competitive, extremely athletic & strong as a bull."
"Bull" is a fitting way to describe Randle's playing style, with the way defenders seem to bounce off the burly forward as he attempts to bully his way to the rim. While Randle shot just 2-10 in his preseason debut, the most important stat was that he made it through yet another game healthy after missing almost the entire 2014-15 season with a broken leg. Plus, he did manage to throw down a dunk on this beautiful bounce pass from D'Angelo Russell on the game's second possession.
Bryant's praise did not go unreciprocated, either, with Randle complimenting him right back:
.@J30_RANDLE on @kobebryant: "Borderline genius. Not just basketball. Off-the-court stuff, too. He hasn't been shy sharing his knowledge."— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) October 5, 2015
Bryant has seemingly made a concerted effort to heap praise on his young teammates this preseason, previously calling Russell "a ridiculous playmaker," as well as taking the time to actually help them grow their games, like when he took Randle to practice early for some extra training. As Bryant enters what could be the last season of his career, it is nice to see him trying to help the Lakers' next generation find their footing in the league, and it is even better to see the younger players show such a willingness to learn and reverence for the mentoring process.