Julius Randle's rookie season lasted 14 minutes before he fractured his right tibia in the Lakers' very first game last year. Although he missed all of last season, Randle has worked hard to get back on the court by rehabbing, getting in shape (he reportedly lost 18 pounds) and improving his mid-range jumper. Recently, Randle worked out with former Lakers forward Metta World Peace, who was impressed with the young forward's strength.
“This kid is super strong,” Lakers coach Byron Scott recalled World Peace observing to others around him.”If Metta says that, he’s pretty strong. Metta is pretty strong.”
“They were bumping and grinding,” Scott said, smiling. “It was kind of fun to watch. Metta is the old wily vet and you have this young bull. Every now and then, Metta got the best of him. But when he hit Metta, Metta bounced off of him.”
That caused Scott to say, “Woah,” in amazement. The episode represented a string of developments that left the Lakers encouraged about Randle.
Randle showed glimpses of his strength in the Lakers 81-68 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves in Summer League. Scoring 11 points (3-9 FG), Randle aggressively attacked the basket and didn't shy away from contact. He also showed a quick first step which allowed him to throw down a two-handed dunk.
Since he missed all of last year, Randle will probably go through his fair share of rookie mistakes this season. However, if he is already getting compliments from Peace, one of the strongest and toughest players in NBA history, he should already be on the right track.