If there is anybody ready for the start of the 2016-2017 NBA season, it has to be Julius Randle. In a live Q & A session, the LA star provided some interesting answers about himself, about the Lakers, and what it’s like being a basketball star in the city of L.A.
Question: So you play for one of the biggest and most valuable sports teams of all time. Were you a Lakers fan growing up?
Julius Randle: “Yeah, it’s funny that you ask that. I was absolutely a Lakers fan growing up. I grew up in Dallas, Texas but I was a huge, huge, huge Kobe fan, and obviously a Laker fan. And to have my name called by them on draft night was pretty amazing because a storied franchise like that doesn’t really have too many high draft picks. So it was fun to have my name called by them and I was really excited to have the opportunity to have the Lakers across my chest.”
Question: With Kobe not being a part of the team, is there a different vibe and atmosphere vs having that veteran presence with Kobe and now with the young core?
Julius Randle: “Yeah, it’s definitely a different atmosphere. Kobe, last year it was really all about him. You know, every day we had the tour, and you know, it was about celebrating his legacy and the history of what he’s done for the game, what he’s done for the Laker franchise. And everybody bought into that. But this year, it’s definitely different. We have an identity as a team that we want to build on. We have our motto, “our way, every day” and we really build on that and live by that. Like if we do things our way, and compete when we’re supposed to and get better, and practice how we’re supposed to every day, we’ll be perfectly fine cause we’ve got a perfect group of guys and a special unit we feel like can surprise a lot of people.”
Question: How did the injury at the beginning of your rookie season affect your career now? Do you still face challenges because of your injury?
Julius Randle: “It definitely humbled me, in a sense that every day, this game isn’t promised to you. You know, that could have been way worse than it was, and to have to sit on the side lines for a whole year, and not being able to compete or do the thing that you love out there on the court or helping your teammates, or whatever it may be. It was very challenging for me. Thank God that I was able to come back successful. But you know, you have those days where you just don’t feel great or whatever it might be. And you may not want to go out there and give it your all, but usually, that’s how bad things happen. Cause you take the game for granted. And it definitely limits those days for me where I don’t take the game for granted. It’s such a short amount of time that you have…….you may think “man I could do this for another 25 years” or whatever it may be but those 25 years will go by so fast. You know, I look back on it and I’m already on year three. And I’m like man, how did I get on year three? I still remember being that 16 or 17-year-old that had a dream of playing in the NBA, so it’s such a small window of time. You have to take advantage of it.”
Question: What were you working on this summer, what part of your game have you been working on? What has been your focus this summer?
Julius Randle: “Just working on everything, obviously there’s big things you have to work on, jump shot or whatever it may be. But just working on being a student of the game, just trying to slow down, see things while they’re happening and try to execute off of that. I think the biggest things is, you could work on holes in games but you got to be a student of things that happen on a consistent basis out the games and capitalize on it…..when we play Ryan Anderson, I’m probably watching film on him for probably the last week and a half, his tendencies and what he does. Just being a super student of the game and just going from there. You start to see the game a little but slower when you do that.”
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Question: What opponent are you looking forward to playing against the most?
Julius Randle: “Well, I look forward to playing against everybody. But I think one of the most fun opponents to play against obviously is Golden State. Such a high-powered offense, high powered team. Very talented. And I love competing against Draymond. So between those two things, it causes for a pretty fun game cause you know you have to bring your game when you playing against them.”
The only thing more interesting than these answers will be how Julius steps up this season, for a young laker team on the rise. They certainly started off the right way with their win against the Rockets, where Julius had 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists.