There is a different vibe around the Lakers that has not been evident the past few seasons. There is always natural excitement whenever a new season is set to begin, but the genuine excitement and optimism among the players is obvious. After a dreadful 2015-16 campaign, the players and coaches are ready to start building the Lakers back up.
Julius Randle really can’t wait to get started. The 21-year-old has dedicated himself to countless hours in the gym this offseason, aiming to improve his game. Randle, a big Dallas Cowboys fan, decided to get some more work in while his favorite NFL team was earning a victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday night.
“I didn’t even know [Chris McGee] knew,” Randle said. “The Bears are terrible. I saw the first quarter and was like, ‘Oh yeah, we got it in the bag,’ so I came up here to get some work in.”
Many people have taken notice of Randle’s work ethic in his young career with the Lakers, especially this past summer. With the time that’s been put in comes higher expectations, but Randle is ready for them. “I don’t feel any pressure,” said Randle. “It’s like that when you put in the work. I’ll live with the results at the end of the day knowing I dedicated myself to the game this summer.”
It will be a much different situation for Randle and the rest of the Lakers with head coach Luke Walton in the fold and Kobe Bryant retiring in April. The front office added some veteran players, but Randle is prepared to be a leader for Los Angeles.
“Going into my third year, or second year or whatever, we got so many young guys, and I’m kind of looked at as one of the leaders of the team,” said Randle. “I think it starts with me, D’Angelo, whoever it may be, to be over ourselves. Stats don't matter. It’s about playing for each other.”
Randle repeatedly noted his desire for the Lakers to be unselfish, something he learned from his time playing for the USA Select Team this summer. Randle is ready for a new era of Lakers basketball.
“We’re a young, hungry, energetic team. This is a fresh start ... It’s about winning and getting better every day for us.”
All quotes transcribed via Spectrum SportsNet. You can follow this author on Twitter at @garykester.