The Los Angeles Lakers anxiously await Julius Randle to get back to playing basketball without any restrictions, and thus far his recovery process has gone brilliantly. Randle's been at the Lakers' training facility in El Segundo working out with his coaches "everyday" as he focuses on his fitness, he recently told Lakers sideline reporter Mike Trudell during an interview.
Randle has been cleared to play in three-on-three contact drills, inching closer to participating in five-man play again, but the No. 7 pick of the 2014 NBA Draft feels so good he'd be ready to line up right now. "It's just a slow transition," Randle relented. "You don't want to go too fast and have a setback."
Excitement is at an all-time high as the Lakers will not only have a healthy Randle to look forward to, but an emerging partner in Jordan Clarkson and whoever it is L.A. drafts with the second overall pick in the upcoming draft. This young core could be the group that becomes the foundation of a new era of Lakers basketball, and Julius -- who's dropped 18 pounds -- went out of his way again and again to stress how great he feels right now.
"With the weight loss and stuff I feel like I'm able to move better. Get off my feet quicker. Just feel quicker, feel lighter. Recovering faster when I get tired," Randle told Trudell when asked about his slimmer physique. "Overall I just feel great. My recovery is better and everything."
Julius' athleticism and agility are two attributes that set him apart as a top prospect, and getting into better shape will help open up that area of his game. Randle's weight was a concern heading into the 2014 draft, but if his recent quotes and glimpses at him playing are any indication, he's in the best shape since he joined the Lakers. This clip, via Lakers Nation, certainly validates his statements:
Randle is just ramping up his workout routine with the Lakers and already looks incredibly sharp for someone coming off of a broken leg and foot surgery. He's made the most out of a disappointing situation, though, and sounds prepared to work hard to make up for the lost time. The last things on his mind are his injuries. "I just go out there and play and I don't think about it at all," Randle said.
This is all very promising for the Lakers, with Julius Randle seemingly on course to get into the best shape of his life. Expect to see and hear more from him as workouts continue at the Lakers' practice facility. Las Vegas Summer League begins on July 10, which could be Randle's return to competitive play.