Lakers: Randle Could Be A Jumpshot Away From Stardom


In just a brief span, Julius Randle has won Lakers fans over completely. With the added threat of a jumpshot he could put the rest of the league on notice as well. 

Despite missing his entire first season to injury, and concerns about his size and athleticism when he was drafted, the 6”9’ bruiser has shown the ability to physically dominate even the most hard-nosed NBA vets.

In the preseason it was Draymond Green, who Randle played well enough against to announce “he can’t guard me” in the middle of the game. If mentality is the difference between a star and a superstar, then the sky is the limit for Julius Randle.

Since being drafted, he has proven that he will never back down from a challenge. Whether that meant facing a season ending injury with incredible poise, or staring down the league’s most notorious enforcers, Randle has already demonstrated that he has what it takes mentally to succeed in the NBA.

More from Lake Show Life

In the Season Opener, Randle’s victim was Kevin Garnett, a league-renowned tough guy who very few players in the NBA dare to cross. Randle was unfazed by his presence, even giving Garnett a taste of his own medicine with physical play and an in-bounded ball off of Garnett’s backside.

However, since arriving in the NBA, Randle has done a lot more than just talk. Randle backs up his bravado using a lightning quick yet surprisingly powerful first step, to blow by defenders.

After yesterday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks, even Dirk Nowitzki was impressed.

Once Randle arrives at the rim, he has no trouble getting contact from defenders, as his herky-jerky style of finishing usually results in a tangle of defenders. However, he does sometimes struggle to finish through this contact, as he often attempts over-handed floaters rather than layups or dunks.

More from Lake Show Life

Randle tends to finish solely with his dominant left hand, but these issues will disappear with more experience, in turn making him an even more dangerous player.

One thing that has been missing from Randle’s game up until this point, however, is a reliable jump shot. Although there were games in the preseason where he was able to make a few of them, he has generally shown little confidence in his shot.

This is important, because adding a reliable jumper to his arsenal could be what propels Randle into stardom.

The obvious benefit of improving his jump shot is that it will make Randle a more complete scorer. Being able to comfortably score from more places on the court is always beneficial to a player, who can use this advantage to better manipulate his defender.

Randle, who is tough enough to guard as it is, will be even more difficult to remain in front of when defenders have to play on his hip in the mid-range area. This will allow Randle to blow-by defenders with even greater ease, resulting in more defensive breakdowns. It would also allow Randle to more effectively use shot-fakes, which could result in wide-open driving lanes for the big forward.

With this in mind, Randle will also need to develop his passing touch, as he sometimes ends up lasering the ball out of bounds. This can be expected from a rookie, as the game tends to “slow down” with experience. Developing this aspect of his game will greatly expand his potential ceiling.

Relying more on his jump shot will also allow Randle to slow the game down, which has been one of his biggest issues to this point. Knowing that he can pull-up and shoot at any time will help Randle play with less of a desperation to get to the rim, and will give him another option when he gets into space.

This will allow Randle to better function within the offense, as well as more effectively utilize the play-making abilities that have already dazzled Laker fans.

Perhaps most importantly, considering the skilled young guards that Randle plays with, is the impact that a jump shot would have on his effectiveness in the pick and roll. Randle has the strength to set hard picks, and has had some success in the pick and roll already, but he hasn’t yet neared his potential in this area.

Julius Randle has already displayed star potential and a superstar mentality…

Being a threat from mid-range could allow him to take advantage of open looks created for him by dangerous guards like Jordan Clarkson and D’Angelo Russell.

Teams would become wary of the pick and pop, which would in turn make Randle’s drive even more devastating.

Fortunately for Lakers fans, this premise is not entirely fantasy. Randle has certainly showed that he possesses the potential to be a good shooter, with touch around the hoop and good aggressiveness. He has even shown flashes of a jump shot in the preseason and summer league.

Even more importantly, he possesses a tremendous work ethic, which he has already begun to leverage to expand his offensive game. Video has even been released from practice of Randle working on his three-point shot, with surprising success.

Randle has already displayed star potential and a superstar mentality. As his skillset expands, so will his impact on the outcome of games. Strides need to be taken on both sides of the court in order for him to meet the lofty expectations placed on him by both the fans and the organization, but there may be no better man for the job.

Next: Lakers vs. Mavericks: Takeaways Going Forward

Julius Randle has the potential to be a game-changing player, and developing his jump-shot may be a huge step down that path.