Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle is entering a make-or-break year for his career, and as his insanely gritty offseason workout videos have shown throughout the summer, he’s committed to showing the team’s front office he’s worth signing long term next summer.
Randle has physically transformed over the summer, going from having a bit of baby fat to completely cut in the span of a few months. The man behind that physical transformation, Amoila Cesar, went on the Laker Film Room podcast Tuesday and revealed the specific ways he thinks Randle’s Extreme Makeover, Six-Pack edition is going to help his game.
"You're going to see that No. 1 he's always going to be the best-conditioned guy on the court. You're going to see more rebounding. A lot more on the defensive end, that's for sure,” Cesar said. “Another thing that you're going to see is that he's going to make smarter choices. I think when fatigue kicks in that has a lot to do with some of his miscues on the court.”
After a season in which he shot 27 percent on 3-pointers, many have pined for Randle to develop a jump shot in order to better open up the floor for both himself and his teammates, and it sounds like he’s attempted to do just that.
“His jump shot has improved drastically and I've seen it. He's hitting a lot of threes,” Cesar said.
While Randle developing even a semi-reliable jumper would be huge for his game moving forward, his bread and butter will likely always be his helter-skelter drives to the rim. According to Cesar, Randle has gotten better at those as well.
“One of his biggest concerns was being able to absorb the contact as he's going to the rim, and that's one of his biggest improvements is playing more controlled,” Cesar said. “You'll see this year he's going to play a lot more under control, with more precision. He's playing with a purpose.”
It must be noted that of course Randle’s trainer is going to talk up his client, but it doesn’t mean he’s lying, either. If fatigue really was an issue for Randle in past years, then improving his conditioning could give him more legs on his jumper and allow him to not get too fatigued to get all the way to the basket no matter how much he’s getting hit.
If Randle can really improve in both of those areas, then it will be basically impossible for the Lakers to consider letting him go unless they need to in order to bring aboard free agents like Paul George and LeBron James. Until then and potentially after, Randle is showing enough promise to be worth holding on to.