Lakers: 3 Things Julius Randle Must Improve on Next Season

Mar 23, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle (30) against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Suns defeated the Lakers 119-107. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 23, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle (30) against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Suns defeated the Lakers 119-107. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Here are three things Julius Randle can work on to become the player the Lakers’ fully expect him to become moving forward

Of all of the members of the Los Angeles Lakers’ young core, the player who warrants the most criticism for on court reasons is definitely Julius Randle.

Unlike D’Angelo Russell, who fans constantly protect when criticized by the media, or Larry Nance Jr who can do no wrong in their eyes, Randle is the one player who many fans seem to be down on.

Though some are under the impression that Randle has the highest ceiling of the current power forwards on the team, Nance Jr’s ability to produce now makes him a threat moving forward.

With that in mind, here are three quick things that Julius Randle must improve on to secure himself as LA’s power forward of the future.

Consistent Jump Shot

The most obvious knocks on Randle’s game is his inconsistency from midrange followed closely lack of a right hand. Teams caught on to this fairly early in Randle’s “rookie” season, opting to leave him wide open, crowding the paint in the process.

For Randle to be truly effective in Luke Walton‘s fluid offense, and further to live up to his desire to be a Draymond Green-esque player, his first priority must be establishing himself as a respectable jump shooter.

Similar to Blake Griffin, shooting is the aspect of the Kentucky products game that will truly take him to the next level. Once he starts hitting 15-20 footers on a consistent basis, defenders will have to step out on him, which will thereby enable him to use his quickness to get to he basket, as he has become so accustomed to doing, and also open up wide open opportunities for his teammates.

Surrounded by capable shooters D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Brandon Ingram, Randle must improve to hold off the steadily improving Nance.

Switch It Up

Another area that he must make strides is in slowing down the game.

For the entirety of his basketball career, Randle has relied heavily on physically dominating his opponents but last season proved how the NBA is a completely different beast. These are not high school or college boys, but grown men, with grown men egos.

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Randle’s modus operandi was put on display early, so establishing some change of pace in his game is essential for success moving forward.

Again similar to Griffin in his first seasons, who used a power dribble spin move nearly every time he touched the ball, Randle’s go to move was a hesitation, stutter dribble in attempt to get as close to the rim as possible. This was normally subsequently followed by a forced up shot at the basket or a pass that was made either two seconds too late, or thrown 20 miles per hour too fast.

Just like his lack of a jumpshot, teams caught onto this rather quickly and played Randle accordingly. To be successful next season, he needs to switch things up and try something new.

Smarter Decision Making

On multiple occasions last season, as is common with most NBA rookies, Randle appeared to by trying too hard which clouded his decision making.

Often pulling down defensive rebounds, instead of kicking it to a guard, Randle opted to run the fast break by himself which again resulted in forced up shots or turnovers from passes thrown way too hard.

Further, likely due to the Lakers’ lack of an established offense, Randle was forced to create his own shot instead of having plays specifically run for him. That said, this season under Walton, he should see more than his fair share of wide open shots if only he plays within the system.

The majority of the players who have gone on the record to talk about their new coach seem to have only positive things to say about him, so hopefully Randle buys in as well and makes his sophomore season one to remember.

Next: Better Reserves, Lakers or Minnesota Timberwolves?

Randle is a formidable rebounder and showed that he is a double-double threat on a nightly basis but to take his game to the next level, those are just a few of things he must improve on, sooner than later.