The Lakers need all the time they can get to fix the stagnant offense witnessed last season. Summer League is typically an ideal time for young players to get acclimated to a new system, but one of the Lakers' young stars may not be there. Julius Randle told Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News that he is unsure whether he wants to play on the Lakers' Summer League team.
"I'm not sure. I feel like I probably wouldn't play," Randle told Medina. "I want to get better and work on my game. Especially with Luke coming in, it's important to get that chemistry going as a team and establishing how we wanted to play. Whenever that time comes, we'll cross that bridge."
Randle was the seventh pick in the first round by the Lakers two years ago, so it isn't surprising that a third-year lottery pick won't be on the Summer League roster. Although it is unusual to see a player such a Randle playing in Summer League, these are unusual circumstances.
Randle is entering his third year in the NBA, but it's essentially his second season after breaking his leg just 14 minutes into his rookie debut. The physical talent Randle possesses is clear, but he is still very raw. For a player who needs to work on his offensive game as much as Randle does, Summer League is a good idea. Especially with the hiring of Walton and a new system to learn.
Not only does Randle need to work on his own individual game, he needs to learn the offensive scheme that Walton is going to bring to the Lakers and how he fits in with D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson. Building an offensive juggernaut like the Golden State Warriors is not an overnight process, and if Walton hopes to have the team playing some semblance of that style, they will need all the time they can get.
Sending the young core players to Las Vegas to play in Summer League would expedite the process of learning Walton's system while getting them valuable live game experience, and most importantly, building the chemistry that is needed to thrive in his system. This chemistry in Walton's scheme will be crucial for the Lakers as they move forward, and while Medina notes that Randle told him the young Lakers have already begun texting about their excitement for the next campaign, the process of developing together on the floor sounds like it may have to wait until training camp.
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