Today, Julius Randle was introduced to the Los Angeles Lakers fans with much fanfare and excitement. Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak thinks Randle will play right away with this comment during the Randle introductory press conference (Hat tip: LakersNation)
"@MarkG_Medina: Mitch on Julius: "He's going to get minutes, not just because we need players. But he'll earn it.""— TeamMamba24 (@TeamMamba24) June 30, 2014
Julius Randle is not messing around. Just like at Kentucky, he has put his expectations for himself as high as he possibly can as a nascent Los Angeles Laker. Consider these tweets:
.@J30_RANDLE chose #30 because it was his mom’s #. She said, "if you’re going to wear it, you better do something with it." So far, so good.— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) June 30, 2014
.@J30_RANDLE’s goals for his NBA career: "Win a lot of championships & reach my full potential."— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) June 30, 2014
Julius Randle on joining the #Lakers: Coming from a place like Kentucky, where they expect championships, definitely prepared me for this— Jaime Maggio (@jaimemaggio) June 30, 2014
Doesn't look like Randle will need foot surgery...for now. Kupchak: "We don’t expect anything different to come up."— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) June 30, 2014
That whole foot surgery thing looks to me like a ploy to get Randle to drop in the draft. Since it wasn't the Lakers' doctor making the comments, I have to wonder if perhaps some other team was acting as a stalking horse on their behalf. Not likely, but hey, those of you who want a conspiracy theory about stuff like this, there's one for you.
Julius Randle: "I hate to lose. That's one of my biggest motivations."— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) June 30, 2014
.@J30_RANDLE on the first 6 picks passing: "I always play with a chip on my shoulder. I think me putting in the work will prove that."— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) June 30, 2014
Also, I missed this the other day from Silver Screen and Roll, SB Nation's Lakers blog:
The Los Angeles Lakers got their guy when they were able to select Julius Randle out of Kentucky with the seventh-overall pick. He hasn't played a minute of NBA basketball, but that doesn't matter right now. The front office may not have catapulted into the top-three, but they managed to maneuver through the prospects and land the player their hand-picked favorite. That's a resounding win for Jim Buss, Mitch Kupchak and the basketball operations team.
It seems pretty clear that the Lakers are delighted with the draft pick, and while Randle may not be exactly happy that he fell to the seventh pick overall from a projected top five, I think in the end he will be happier here than at most of the other destinations higher in the draft. Los Angeles is rebuilding, but they do have Kobe Bryant, still a potent scorer, as well as Pau Gasol and some other good pieces. It will be interesting to see how they come out next season.