Heading into the final season of his rookie contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, the focus of Julius Randle’s exit interview with head coach Luke Walton, general manager Rob Pelinka and team president Magic Johnson was simple.
“Just laying out a plan for the summer... skill stuff I’ve got to work on. I think the biggest focus this summer is just coming back in incredible shape,” Randle said, adding that he wants to be a “beast.”
The left-handed four has also received criticism over the course of his career for his lacking right hand, one of a few weaknesses he wants to address over the off-season.
“I want to continue working on my right hand. I know what I have to do to get better,” Randle said. “Just trying to get in the best shape of my life.”
Randle’s quest for fitness isn’t just for basketball. The new father knows he’s going to need all the energy he can get to care for the new addition his family made mid-season.
“It was hard, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world,” Randle said with a smile.
Getting into amazing shape will also help Randle improve defensively, another one of his goals for the summer after a season in which he felt like he made progress.
“I definitely feel more comfortable guarding people one-on-one. I’ve still got a ways to go with helping,” Randle said, and he also noted he wants to get better as a shot blocker.
Randle is one of several young Lakers who will have to continue to improve if the team wants to make a leap next season, and he’s focused on making that happen.
“I think the potential we showed as a unit at the start of the season... we can be a problem,” Randle said. “Obviously we’re all going to put work in individually, but we’ve all got to learn the game.”
The meeting with the Lakers brain trust also left Randle confident the team is heading in the right direction.
“I think there’s a clear vision of where we want to go and what we want to do,” Randle said. “I think that’s really encouraging.”
All stats per NBA.com. and Basketball-Reference.com. All quotes transcribed via Periscope. Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here, or listen to our thoughts on the season below), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.